Gut bacteria linked to alcoholic liver disease
Why is that the severity of alcoholic liver disease (ALD) is not equal in all heavy drinkers? The secret may lie in the the gut flora or what is now known as microbiota, says a study.
"These findings provide first evidence for a causal role of gut microbiota in alcohol-induced inflammation," said professor Frank Lammert, scientific committee member, European Association for the Study of the Liver.
In the study, two groups of germ-free mice received gut microbiota transplants from human representatives; one set from a patient with severe alcoholic hepatitis, the other from a patient with a history of alcohol abuse but without alcoholic hepatitis.
The two sets of germ-free mice were then fed a liquid alcoholic diet.
The group that received microbiota from the patient with severe alcoholic hepatitis developed a more severe liver injury and a higher disruption of the intestinal mucosa in direct comparison to the group that received microbiota from the patient without severe alcoholic hepatitis.
The findings open up new avenues for the treatment of alcoholic liver disease with potentially better patient outcomes, Lammert said.
The researchers highlighted the possibility of preventing ALD with faecal microbiota transplantation - the engrafting of new microbiota, usually through administering human faecal material from a healthy donor into the colon of a recipient.
The study also identified two Clostridium bacteria that were able to produce ethanol in vitro and that were systematically associated with intestinal microbiota associated liver injury.
(Posted on 14-04-2014)