Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Irvine

UC Irvine Previously Published Works bannerUC Irvine

The Phosphate Binder Ferric Citrate Alters the Gut Microbiome in Rats with Chronic Kidney Disease.

  • Author(s): Lau, Wei Ling
  • Vaziri, Nosratola D
  • Nunes, Ane CF
  • Comeau, André M
  • Langille, Morgan GI
  • England, Whitney
  • Khazaeli, Mahyar
  • Suematsu, Yasunori
  • Phan, Joann
  • Whiteson, Katrine
  • et al.

In chronic kidney disease (CKD), the gut microbiome is altered and bacterial-derived uremic toxins promote systemic inflammation and cardiovascular disease. Ferric citrate complex is a dietary phosphate binder prescribed for patients with end-stage kidney disease to treat hyperphosphatemia and secondary hyperparathyroidism. Iron is an essential nutrient in both microbes and mammals. This study was undertaken to test the hypothesis that the large iron load administered with ferric citrate in CKD may significantly change the gut microbiome. Male Sprague-Dawley rats underwent 5/6 nephrectomy to induce CKD. Normal control and CKD rats were randomized to regular chow or a 4% ferric citrate diet for 6 weeks. Fecal and cecal microbial DNA was analyzed via 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequencing on the Illumina MiSeq system. CKD rats had lower abundances of Firmicutes and Lactobacillus compared with normal rats and had lower overall gut microbial diversity. CKD rats treated with ferric citrate had improved hemoglobin and creatinine clearance and amelioration of hyperphosphatemia and hypertension. Ferric citrate treatment increased bacterial diversity in CKD rats almost to levels observed in control rats. The tryptophanase-possessing families Verrucomicrobia, Clostridiaceae, and Enterobacteriaceae were increased by ferric citrate treatment. The uremic toxins indoxyl sulfate and p-cresyl sulfate were not increased with ferric citrate treatment. Verrucomicrobia was largely represented by Akkermansia muciniphila, which has important roles in mucin degradation and gut barrier integrity. In summary, ferric citrate therapy in CKD rats was associated with significant changes in the gut microbiome and beneficial kidney and blood pressure parameters.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
Current View