Butyrate-producing gut bacteria and viral infections in kidney transplant recipients: A pilot study

John R. Lee, Jennifer Huang, Matthew Magruder, Lisa T. Zhang, Catherine Gong, Adam N. Sholi, Shady Albakry, Emmanuel Edusei, Thangamani Muthukumar, Michelle Lubetzky, Darshana M. Dadhania, Ying Taur, Eric G. Pamer, Manikkam Suthanthiran

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The gut microbiome is being associated increasingly with development of infections besides Clostridium difficile infection. A recent study found an association between butyrate-producing gut (BPG) bacteria and less frequent development of lower respiratory viral infections in allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients (Haak et al, Blood 131(26): 2978, 2018). In this investigation, we examine the relationship between the abundance of BPG bacteria and the development of viral infections in a cohort of kidney transplant recipients. Methods: We recruited 168 kidney transplant recipients who provided 510 fecal specimens in the first 3 months after transplantation and profiled the gut microbiota using 16S rRNA gene sequencing of the V4-V5 hypervariable region. We classified the kidney transplant recipients into higher BPG Bacteria Group and lower BPG Bacteria Group using the same criteria of 1% relative gut abundance of BPG bacteria as the Haak et al study. Results: Administration of antibiotics against anaerobes was associated with a significant decrease in the relative gut abundance of BPG bacteria. The higher BPG Bacteria Group was associated with less development of respiratory viral infections (Hazard Ratio [HR]: 0.28, P =.01) but not with less development of CMV viremia (HR: 0.38, P =.13) or BK viremia (HR: 1.02, P =.98) at 2 years post transplantation. Conclusion: Our pilot investigation supports future validation of the relationship between high relative gut abundance of BPG bacteria and decreased risk for development of respiratory viral infections.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13180
JournalTransplant Infectious Disease
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019



  • butyrate
  • gut microbiome
  • gut microbiota
  • respiratory viral infections
  • viral infections

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Transplantation

Cite this

Lee, J. R., Huang, J., Magruder, M., Zhang, L. T., Gong, C., Sholi, A. N., Albakry, S., Edusei, E., Muthukumar, T., Lubetzky, M., Dadhania, D. M., Taur, Y., Pamer, E. G., & Suthanthiran, M. (2019). Butyrate-producing gut bacteria and viral infections in kidney transplant recipients: A pilot study. Transplant Infectious Disease, 21(6), [e13180]. https://doi.org/10.1111/tid.13180