Oxalobacter formigenes and its potential role in human health.
Oxalate degradation by the anaerobic bacterium Oxalobacter formigenes is important for human health, helping to prevent hyperoxaluria and disorders such as the development of kidney stones. Oxalate-degrading activity cannot be detected in the gut flora of some individuals, possibly because Oxalobacter is susceptible to commonly used antimicrobials. Here, clarithromycin, doxycycline, and some other antibiotics inhibited oxalate degradation by two human strains of O. formigenes. These strains varied in their response to gut environmental factors, including exposure to gastric acidity and bile salts. O. formigenes strains established oxalate breakdown in fermentors which were preinoculated with fecal bacteria from individuals lacking oxalate-degrading activity. Reducing the concentration of oxalate in the medium reduced the numbers of O. formigenes bacteria. Oxalate degradation was established and maintained at dilution rates comparable to colonic transit times in healthy individuals. A single oral ingestion of O. formigenes by adult volunteers was, for the first time, shown to result in (i) reduced urinary oxalate excretion following administration of an oxalate load, (ii) the recovery of oxalate-degrading activity in feces, and (iii) prolonged retention of colonization.
Appl Environ Microbiol. 2002 Aug;68(8):3841-7.