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Nat Rev Urol. 2015 Feb;12(2):81-90. doi: 10.1038/nrurol.2014.361. Epub 2015 Jan 20.

The microbiome of the urinary tract--a role beyond infection.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, The University of Western Ontario, 1151 Richmond Street, London, ON N6A 3K7, Canada.
Division of Urology, Department of Surgery, The University of Western Ontario, 1151 Richmond Street, London, ON N6A 3K7, Canada.
Canadian Centre for Human Microbiome and Probiotic Research, Lawson Health Research Institute, 268 Grosvenor Street, London, ON N6A 4V2, Canada.


Urologists rarely need to consider bacteria beyond their role in infectious disease. However, emerging evidence shows that the microorganisms inhabiting many sites of the body, including the urinary tract--which has long been assumed sterile in healthy individuals--might have a role in maintaining urinary health. Studies of the urinary microbiota have identified remarkable differences between healthy populations and those with urologic diseases. Microorganisms at sites distal to the kidney, bladder and urethra are likely to have a profound effect on urologic health, both positive and negative, owing to their metabolic output and other contributions. Connections between the gut microbiota and renal stone formation have already been discovered. In addition, bacteria are also used in the prevention of bladder cancer recurrence. In the future, urologists will need to consider possible influences of the microbiome in diagnosis and treatment of certain urological conditions. New insights might provide an opportunity to predict the risk of developing certain urological diseases and could enable the development of innovative therapeutic strategies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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