Gut-microbiota-metabolite axis in early renal function decline

Clara Barrios, Michelle Beaumont, Tess Pallister, Judith Villar, Julia K Goodrich, Andrew Clark, Julio Pascual, Ruth E Ley, Tim D Spector, Jordana T Bell, Cristina Menni

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124 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Several circulating metabolites derived from bacterial protein fermentation have been found to be inversely associated with renal function but the timing and disease severity is unclear. The aim of this study is to explore the relationship between indoxyl-sulfate, p-cresyl-sulfate, phenylacetylglutamine and gut-microbial profiles in early renal function decline. Results: Indoxyl-sulfate (Beta(SE) = -2.74(0.24); P = 8.8×10<sup>-29</sup>), p-cresyl-sulfate (-1.99(0.24), P = 4.6×10<sup>-16</sup>), and phenylacetylglutamine(-2.73 (0.25), P = 1.2×10<sup>-25</sup>) were inversely associated with eGFR in a large population base cohort (TwinsUK, n = 4439) with minimal renal function decline. In a sub-sample of 855 individuals, we analysed metabolite associations with 16S gut microbiome profiles (909 profiles, QIIME 1.7.0). Three Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs) were significantly associated with indoxyl-sulfate and 52 with phenylacetylglutamine after multiple testing; while one OTU was nominally associated with p-cresyl sulfate. All 56 microbial members belong to the order Clostridiales and are represented by anaerobic Gram-positive families Christensenellaceae, Ruminococcaceae and Lachnospiraceae. Within these, three microbes were also associated with eGFR. Conclusions: Our data suggest that indoxyl-sulfate, p-cresyl-sulfate and phenylacetylglutamine are early markers of renal function decline. Changes in the intestinal flora associated with these metabolites are detectable in early kidney disease. Future efforts should dissect this relationship to improve early diagnostics and therapeutics strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0134311
JournalPL o S One
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 4 Aug 2015


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