Objectives: To evaluate whether chronic therapy with probiotics affects plasma levels of cytokines and oxidative/nitrosative stress parameters, as well as liver damage, in patients with various types of chronic liver disease.
Patients and methods: A total of 22 nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and 20 alcoholic liver cirrhosis (AC) patients were enrolled in the study and compared with 36 HCV-positive patients with chronic hepatitis without (20, CH) or with (16, CC) liver cirrhosis. All patients were treated with the probiotic VSL#3. Routine liver tests, plasma levels of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha), interleukin (IL)-6 and -10, malondialdehyde (MDA), and 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE), S-nitrosothiols (S-NO), were evaluated on days -30, 0, 90, and 120.
Results: Treatment with VSL#3 exerted different effects in the various groups of patients: in NAFLD and AC groups, it significantly improved plasma levels of MDA and 4-HNE, whereas cytokines (TNF-alpha, IL-6, and IL-10) improved only in AC patients. No such effects were observed in HCV patients. Routine liver damage tests and plasma S-NO levels were improved at the end of treatment in all groups.
Conclusions: Results of the study suggest that manipulation of intestinal flora should be taken into consideration as possible adjunctive therapy in some types of chronic liver disease.