Galacto-oligosaccharides attenuate renal injury with microbiota modification


  • Funding Information

    This work was supported by Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research from Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (24390213 to M. Nangaku and 10568447 to T. Ohse) and by the Yakult Honsha Corporation.


Tubulointerstitial injury is central to the progression of end-stage renal disease. Recent studies have revealed that one of the most investigated uremic toxins, indoxyl sulfate (IS), caused tubulointerstitial injury through oxidative stress and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. Because indole, the precursor of IS, is synthesized from dietary tryptophan by the gut microbiota, we hypothesized that the intervention targeting the gut microbiota in kidney disease with galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) would attenuate renal injury. After 2 weeks of GOS administration for 5/6 nephrectomized (Nx) or sham-operated (Sham) rats, cecal indole and serum IS were measured, renal injury was evaluated, and the effects of GOS on the gut microbiota were examined using pyrosequencing methods. Cecal indole and serum IS were significantly decreased and renal injury was improved with decreased infiltrating macrophages in GOS-treated Nx rats. The expression levels of ER stress markers and apoptosis were significantly increased in the Nx rats and decreased with GOS. The microbiota analysis indicated that GOS significantly increased three bacterial families and decreased five families in the Nx rats. In addition, the analysis also revealed that the bacterial family Clostridiaceae was significantly increased in the Nx rats compared with the Sham rats and decreased with GOS. Taken altogether, our data show that GOS decreased cecal indole and serum IS, attenuated renal injury, and modified the gut microbiota in the Nx rats, and that the gut microbiota were altered in kidney disease. GOS could be a novel therapeutic agent to protect against renal injury.