Gut bacteria ups heart disease risk in kidney patients

London: Increased accumulation of gut bacterial metabolite in patients suffering from chronic kidney disease (CKD) may raise the risk of heart disease and premature death, says a study.

CKD — also known as chronic renal disease — is a condition characterised by a gradual loss of kidney function over time.

According to researchers, nearly 10 percent of the population worldwide is affected by chronic kidney disease.

“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 Bjorn Meijers from University of Leuven in Belgium.

The findings showed that the accumulation of phenylacetylglutamine (PAG) — common metabolite found in human urine — generated by gut bacteria plays a key role in elevating the risk due to their toxic nature and the body’s dependence on the kidney for their excretion.

“This study adds evidence that the gut microbiota may be a contributor to the disease burden in patients with a diminished kidney function,” Meijers added.

Also, the blood levels of PAG were found to be higher in patients with more advanced CKD.

In addition, patients with high PAG showed an elevated risk of developing heart disease as well as premature death.

For the study, to be published in the forthcoming issue of Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN),the researchers analysed 488 patients with CKD.

“This study 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,” Meijers noted.