Gut Bacteria Could Impact the Health of Patients with Kidney Disease

A build-up of a metabolite found in urine could contribute to health problems faced by patients with kidney disease.

Researchers in a recent study found that gut bacteria could potentially affect the health of patients treated for chronic kidney disease (CKD).

These patients tend to accumulate a gut bacterial metabolite that is found in urine, according to the study published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. Included in the study were 488 patients with CKD.

Researchers analyzed metabolite phenylacetylglutamine (PAG) levels in each of these patients. After a follow-up period of 3.5 years, researchers found that blood levels of PAG were elevated in patients with more advanced CKD.

These patients also had an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease and death, according to the study.

"There has been increasing awareness that the gut microbiota is not only pivotal for human health but is also involved in various disease processes, including obesity and diabetes mellitus," said lead researcher Björn Meijers, MD, PhD. "This study adds evidence that the gut microbiota may likewise be a contributor to the disease burden in patients with a diminished kidney function. Furthermore, this knowledge may pave the way for novel therapeutic interventions by both dietary measures and drugs, thereby hopefully improving the prognosis and quality of life of kidney disease patients."

Further research is needed to better understand the relationship between metabolites and survival for patients with CKD, the study concluded.