Host-microbiome interactions in alcoholic liver disease

Gut Liver. 2014 May;8(3):237-41. doi: 10.5009/gnl.2014.8.3.237.


Alcoholic liver disease is a leading cause of morbidity and liver-related death worldwide. Intestinal bacterial overgrowth and dysbiosis induced by ethanol ingestion play an important role in the pathogenesis of alcoholic liver disease. After exposure to alcohol in the lumen, enteric bacteria alter their metabolism and thereby disturb intestinal homeostasis. Disruption of the mucosal barrier results in the translocation of microbial products that contribute to liver disease by inducing hepatic inflammation. In this review, we will discuss the effects of alcohol on the intestinal microbiome, and in particular, its effects on bacterial metabolism, bacterial translocation and ecological balance. A better understanding of the interactions among alcohol, the host and the microbiome will reveal new targets for therapy and lead to new treatments.

Keywords: Alcoholic liver injury; Metabolism; Microbiota; Permeability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Translocation / physiology
  • Central Nervous System Depressants / metabolism
  • Ethanol / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Intestines / microbiology*
  • Lipopolysaccharides / physiology
  • Liver Diseases, Alcoholic / microbiology*
  • Microbiota / physiology*
  • Permeability


  • Central Nervous System Depressants
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Ethanol