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The role of the human microbiome in health and disease is becoming increasingly apparent. Emerging evidence suggests that the microbiome is affected by solid organ transplantation. Kidney transplantation is the gold standard treatment for End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), the advanced stage of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). The question of how ESRD and transplantation affect the microbiome and vice versa includes how the microbiome is affected by increased concentrations of toxins such as urea and creatinine (which are elevated in ESRD), whether restoration of renal function following transplantation alters the composition of the microbiome, and the impact of lifelong administration of immunosuppressive drugs on the microbiome. Changes in microbiome composition and activity have been reported in ESRD and in therapeutic immunosuppression, but the effect on the outcome of transplantation is not well-understood. Here, we consider the current evidence that changes in kidney function and immunosuppression following transplantation influence the oral, gut, and urinary microbiomes in kidney transplant patients. The potential for changes in these microbiomes to lead to disease, systemic inflammation, or rejection of the organ itself is discussed, along with the possibility that restoration of kidney function might re-establish orthobiosis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number558644
Pages (from-to)558644
JournalFrontiers in cellular and infection microbiology
Issue number0
Publication statusPublished - 23 Dec 2020


  • chronic kidney disease
  • end stage renal disease
  • gut microbiome
  • kidney transplant
  • oral microbiome
  • renal allograft
  • surgery
  • urinary microbiome


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