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January 19, 2020
Kidney Stones in Children

Gut Bacteria Oxalobacter Formigenes Associated With Reduced Risk Of Kidney Stones


  • Oxalate is a small anion that is derived from food sources.
  • The dietary oxalate is absorbed by the intestine and it increases the urinary oxalate output which ups the risk of developing kidney stones.
  • Oxalobacter formigenes (Of) present in the gut, metabolizes the oxalate by using it as a primary energy source.
  • This oxalate degradation by factors secreted by Of reduces the urinary oxalate secretion and the risk of developing kidney stones.

secreted by gut bacteria Oxalobacter formigenes (Of), maybe helpful in
preventing or treating kidney stones.

findings that appear in the upcoming issue of the Journal of American
Society of Nephrology (JASN)
, state that these factors secreted by Of
have shown to reduce the secretion of urinary oxalate in mice.

‘Therapeutic agents from probiotics-derived factors are an alternative approach to reducing urinary oxalate output, which in turn reduces the risk of developing kidney stones.’

stones or renal calculi are the second most prevalent kidney disease
in the United States after hypertension. It increases the risk of developing
chronic kidney disease and kidney failure. One in 10
Americans will develop kidney stones during his or her lifetime. American men
are more likely to develop the problem compared to women.
stones are small, hard mineral deposits. They can occur in any part of the
urinary tract from the kidneys to the bladder. Usually the stones are small
crystals that can be passed through the urine. It can be managed by drinking
lots of water and taking pain-killers.

if the stones continue to grow and pass into the urine collecting unit where it
causes obstruction and pain, surgical intervention may be required. Around 80%
of these stones are composed of calcium oxalate.

is a small anion that is derived from endogenous and exogenous sources. It is
formed in the liver by amino acid catabolism. It is also present in certain
vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, legumes, coffee, chocolates etc. It combines
with cations like calcium, to form calcium oxalate kidney stones. Intestinal
absorption of dietary oxalate can increase the urinary oxalate secretion. The
higher the concentration of oxalate secreted in the urine, the more the risk of
developing kidney stones.

formigenes is a Gram negative, anaerobic bacterium that is present in large proportions in
a normal adult gut. It plays a major role in balancing levels of oxalate. It
helps to metabolize oxalate in the intestinal tract by using it as an exclusive
energy source. The absence of Oxalobacter formigenes causes increased
absorption of oxalate in the colon causing increased secretion of oxalate in
the urine and predisposistion to calcium oxalate kidney stones.

oxalate degradation by Of is important for human health as it reduces the
urinary oxalate excretion and the risk for kidney stones.

Hatim Hassan, MD, PhD
(University of Chicago) and his colleagues found that factors which
are secreted by Of can stimulate transportation
of oxalate by human intestinal cells grown
in tissue culture.

The team also revealed that the mechanisms of the
observed stimulation involve the protein kinase A (PKA) signaling pathway and a
protein transporter called SLC26A6.

Importantly, the Oxalobacter
formigenes factors reduced urinary oxalate excretion in mice
by more than 32.5% . This was done by stimulating
colonic oxalate secretion.

bacteria have several health benefits; however, the difficulties in
determining intestinal bacterial bioavailability and biosafety concerns when
administering live probiotics are potential problems facing current probiotics
clinical applications. Developing probiotics-derived factors as novel
therapeutic agents is an alternative approach that addresses such concerns,”
said Dr. Hassan. “The fact that these factors retain their biological activity
and can effectively reduce urinary oxalate excretion in mice indicates their
significant potential as novel therapeutic agents, and provides a compelling
reason for the aggressive pursuit of their characterization, which is currently

of T

Probiotics are microorganisms that offer health
benefits and play an important role in regulating and maintaining intestinal
health. They are naturally found in fermented food products with active-live
cultures like yogurt. It is also supplemented through capsules, liquid and
chewable forms.

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) – For people with IBS, it helps reduce symptoms like bloating and flatulence.
  • Diarrhea and Other Food-borne Illness – It helps to restore the useful bacteria and kills or inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria.
  • Vaginal Health – Oral and vaginal administration of certain probiotics like Lactobacilli can help in the treatment of bacterial vaginosis. Vaginosis, if not treated can cause complications associated with pregnancy and pelvic-inflammatory disease.
  • Urinary Health – The use of probiotics has shown to reduce the rate of recurrent urinary tract infection (UTI) that mainly affects women. It can also reduce urinary oxalate secretion which helps reduce the risk of developing kidney stones.
  • Skin Conditions – In certain skin conditions like eczema, probiotics have shown to reduce inflammation and provide protection against immune dysfunction.

References :

  1. Oxalobacter formigenes May Reduce the Risk of Calcium Oxalate Kidney Stones – (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2396938/)
  2. Oxalobacter formigenes and Its Potential Role in Human Health – (http://aem.asm.org/content/68/8/3841.full)
  3. Kidney stones – (http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/kidney-stones/basics/definition/con-20024829)
  4. Kidneys Facts – (https://www.kidney.org/news/newsroom/factsheets/FastFacts)

Source: Medindia

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