Background: Trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) serves as a metabolite of intestinal bacteria as well as a urotoxin influencing the prognosis of chronic kidney disease (CKD), which has become a research hotspot in the field of kidney disease. This study preliminarily explored the alternations of the microbial flora and serum TMAO in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) complicated with diabetic kidney disease (DKD).
Methods: Seventeen T2DM patients at the Affiliated Hospital of Zunyi Medical University between September 2018 and February 2019 were included. Among these patients, 8 patients had T2DM complicated with DKD. Eight healthy volunteers constituted the control group. Fresh stool was collected for Illumina sequencing. Based on the sequencing outcomes, the flora diversity and species differences were analyzed. Serum TMAO, cystatin C, urinary albumin/urine creatinine ratios (ACRs), and routine biochemical outcomes were also compared.
Results: The DKD group exhibited a significantly higher TMAO level than the remaining groups. The high-TMAO group had a significantly increased ACR level compared with the low-TMAO group. TMAO positively correlated with the ACR. Compared with the control group, the DKD group exhibited a decreased flora diversity. At the genus level, both the T2DM group and the DKD group showed decreased numbers of Alloprevotella and Megasphaera compared with the control group. The difference in Megasphaera between the DKD group and the control group was significant.
Conclusions: The alternation of the intestinal microbial flora may participate in the development of DKD, and TMAO and chronic inflammation might be important factors for DKD development.