Intestinal microbiome as a risk factor for urinary tract infections in children
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As urinary tract infection (UTI) pathogens originate from the gut, we hypothesized that the gut environment reflected by intestinal microbiome influences the risk of UTI. Our prospective case-control study compared the intestinal microbiomes of 37 children with a febrile UTI with those of 69 healthy children. We sequenced the regions of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene and used the LefSe algorithm to calculate the size of the linear discriminant analysis (LDA) effect. We measured fecal lactoferrin and iron concentrations and quantitative PCR for Escherichia coli. At the phylum level, there were no significant differences. At the genus level, Enterobacter was more abundant in UTI patients with an LDA score > 3 (log 10), while Peptostreptococcaceae were more abundant in healthy subjects with an LDA score > 3 (log 10). In total, 20 OTUs with significantly different abundances were observed. Previous use of antimicrobials did not associate with intestinal microbiome. The relative abundance of E. coli was 1.9% in UTI patients and 0.5% in controls (95% CI of the difference—0.8 to 3.6%). The mean concentration of E.coli in quantitative PCR was 0.14 ng/μl in the patients and 0.08 ng/μl in the controls (95% CI of the difference—0.04 to 0.16). Fecal iron and lactoferrin concentrations were similar between the groups. At the family and genus level, we noted several differences in the intestinal microbiome between children with UTI and healthy children, which may imply that the gut environment is linked with the risk of UTI in children.
This work was supported by Finnish Pediatric Research Association; Alma and K.A. Snellman Foundation and Juho Vainio Foundation.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
The Ethics Committee of the Northern Ostrobothnia Hospital District at Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland, evaluated the study plan and found it ethically acceptable (decision number 44/2015).
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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