Urinary microbiome of kidney transplant patients reveals dysbiosis with potential for antibiotic resistance

Asha Rani, Ravi Ranjan, Halvor S. McGee, Kalista E. Andropolis, Dipti V. Panchal, Zahraa Hajjiri, Daniel C. Brennan, Patricia W. Finn, David L. Perkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Recent studies have established that a complex community of microbes colonize the human urinary tract; however, their role in kidney transplant patients treated with prophylactic antibiotics remains poorly investigated. Our aim was to investigate the urinary microbiome of kidney transplant recipients. Urine samples from 21 patients after kidney transplantation and 8 healthy controls were collected. All patients received prophylactic treatment with the antibiotic combination trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. Metagenomic DNA was isolated from urine samples, sequenced using shotgun sequencing approach on Illumina HiSeq 2000 platform, and analyzed for microbial taxonomic and functional annotations. Our results demonstrate that the urine microbiome of kidney transplants was markedly different at all taxonomic levels from phyla to species, had decreased microbial diversity, and increased abundance of potentially pathogenic species compared with healthy controls. Specifically, at the phylum level, we detected a significant decrease in Actinobacteria and increase in Firmicutes due to increases in Enterococcus faecalis. In addition, there was an increase in the Proteobacteria due to increases in Escherichia coli. Analysis of predicted functions of the urinary metagenome revealed increased abundance of enzymes in the folate pathway including dihydrofolate synthase that are not inhibited by trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, but can augment folate metabolism. This report characterizes the urinary microbiome of kidney transplants using shotgun metagenomics approach. Our results indicate that the urinary microbiota may be modified in the context of prophylactic antibiotics, indicating that a therapeutic intervention may shift the urinary microbiota to select bacterial species with increased resistance to antibiotics. The evaluation and development of optimal prophylactic regimens that do not promote antibiotic resistance is an important future goal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-70
Number of pages12
JournalTranslational Research
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Physiology (medical)


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