If chronic kidney disease (CKD) is associated with an impairment of kidney function, several uremic solutes are retained. Some of these exert toxic effects, which are called uremic toxins. p
-Cresyl sulfate (pCS) is a prototype protein-bound uremic toxin to which many biological and biochemical (toxic) effects have been attributed. In addition, increased levels of pCS have been associated with worsening outcomes in CKD patients. pCS finds its origin in the intestine where gut bacteria metabolize aromatic amino acids, such as tyrosine and phenylalanine, leading to phenolic end products, of which pCS is one of the components. In this review we summarize the biological effects of pCS and its metabolic origin in the intestine. It appears that, according to in vitro
studies, the intestinal bacteria generating phenolic compounds mainly belong to the families Bacteroidaceae, Bifidobacteriaceae, Clostridiaceae, Enterobacteriaceae, Enterococcaceae, Eubacteriaceae, Fusobacteriaceae, Lachnospiraceae, Lactobacillaceae, Porphyromonadaceae, Staphylococcaceae, Ruminococcaceae
, and Veillonellaceae
. Since pCS remains difficult to remove by dialysis, the gut microbiota could be a future target to decrease pCS levels and its toxicity, even at earlier stages of CKD, aiming at slowing down the progression of the disease and decreasing the cardiovascular burden.
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