The composition of the gut microbiota of patients undergoing kidney or liver transplantation differs greatly from their gut microbiota before transplantation and that of the general population. The microbiome is less diverse and this difference is associated with a higher risk of death.
Researchers from the UMCG write this in their article that appeared in Science Translational Medicine. For their study, they used data from the TransplantLines and Lifelines biobanks, from which they analyzed 1,370 stool samples from transplant patients (415 liver, 672 kidney) and 1183 from LifeLines participants from the general population with similar characteristics, such as age and gender. .
After transplantation, the intestinal flora appeared to change for a long time – up to 20 years after the procedure: it became less diverse, unhealthy intestinal bacteria increased while bacteria with a positive health effect decreased and the bacterial metabolism functioned less well. This dysbiosis can partly be explained by the use of immunosuppressants, partly because antibiotics are required more often. In addition, the study shows that the degree of dysbiosis after transplantation is associated with a higher risk of death.
These new results are a first step towards developing treatments that can alter or protect the microbiome of transplant patients from other, harmful drugs.