Resident bacterial communities (microbiota) and host antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are both essential components of normal host innate immune responses that limit infection and pathogen induced inflammation. However, their interdependence has not been investigated in the context of urinary tract infection (UTI) susceptibility. Here, we explored the interrelationship between the urinary microbiota and host AMP responses as mechanisms for UTI risk. Using prospectively collected day of surgery (DOS) urine specimens from female pelvic floor surgery participants, we report that the relative abundance and/or frequency of specific urinary microbiota distinguished between participants who did or did not develop a post-operative UTI. Furthermore, UTI risk significantly correlated with both specific urinary microbiota and β-defensin AMP levels. Finally, urinary AMP hydrophobicity and protease activity were greater in participants who developed UTI, and correlated positively with both UTI risk and pelvic floor symptoms. These data demonstrate an interdependency between the urinary microbiota, AMP responses and symptoms, and identify a potential mechanism for UTI risk. Assessment of bacterial microbiota and host innate immune AMP responses in parallel may identify increased risk of UTI in certain populations.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2014 Nienhouse et al.