Published online Mar 15, 2022. doi: 10.4239/wjd.v13.i3.150
Peer-review started: March 5, 2021
First decision: May 3, 2021
Revised: May 21, 2021
Accepted: February 11, 2022
Article in press: February 11, 2022
Published online: March 15, 2022
Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is a major cause of end-stage renal disease, and therapeutic options for preventing its progression are insufficient. The number of patients with DN has been increasing in Asian countries because of westernization of dietary lifestyle, which may be associated with the following changes in gut microbiota. Alterations in the gut microbiota composition can lead to an imbalanced gastrointestinal environment that promotes abnormal production of metabolites and/or inflammatory status. Functional microenvironments of the gut could be changed in the different stages of DN. In particular, altered levels of short chain fatty acids, D-amino acids, and reactive oxygen species biosynthesis in the gut have been shown to be relevant to the pathogenesis of the DN. So far, evidence suggests that the gut microbiota may play a key role in determining networks in the development of DN. Interventions directing the gut microbiota deserve further investigation as a new protective therapy in DN. In this review, we discuss the potential roles of the gut microbiota and future perspectives in the protection and/or treatment of kidneys.
Core tip: Evolving evidence suggests that the gut microbiota may play a key role in the development of diabetic nephropathy (DN). Interventions aimed at the gut microbiota deserve further investigation as a novel protective therapy in DN. We review the potential roles of the gut microbiota in the protection of kidneys and in the development of DN.