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  • Writer's pictureClaire Svoboda

Microbe imbalance and chronic kidney disease

Environmental changes within the gut microbes can induce diversity shifts within ecosystems living inside the colon that affect interactions between different systems of the body. Similarly, the development of kidney disease can be directly linked to shifts within the ecosystem of the intestinal microbiome, affecting host physiology and fitness. Renal failure itself, together with related changes in diet and medication like antibiotics, alters the microbiota and its secretome of micronutrients, macronutrients and regulatory metabolites towards a phenotype characterized by the production of uraemic toxins, hence contributing to the clinical syndrome of uraemia and its complications. These alterations are associated with structural changes in the intestinal wall that impair barrier function and cause leakage of bacterial metabolites, bacterial wall products and live bacteria into the circulation. Thus, the intestinal microbiota represents a new therapeutic target to improve outcomes of chronic kidney disease (CKD), including symptoms of uraemia, metabolic changes, cardiovascular complications, aberrant immunity and disease progression. Initial interventional studies have shown promising effects of unselective probiotic preparations on kidney inflammation and uraemia in patients with CKD but longer-term studies are needed. Here, we take an ecological approach to understand the role of the intestinal microbiota in determining survival fitness in kidney disease.

The microbes within our gut are linked to every immune response within our bodies, so if these microbes are out of balance the whole body will be affected.

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