Alcoholic liver disease (ALD) has been among the leading causes of cirrhosis and liver-related death worldwide for decades. Early discoveries in alcoholic liver disease identified increased levels of bacterial endotoxin in the portal circulation, suggesting a role for gut-derived toxins in ALD. Indeed, alcohol consumption can disrupt the intestinal epithelial barrier and result in increased gut permeability that increasingly is recognized as a major factor in ALD. Bacterial endotoxin, lipopolysaccharide, is a prototypic microbe-derived inflammatory signal that contributes to inflammation in ALD through activation of the Toll-like receptor 4. Recent studies also have shown that alcohol consumption is associated with alterations in the gut microbiome, and the dysbalance of pathogenic and commensal organisms in the intestinal microbiome may contribute to the abnormal gut-liver axis in ALD. Indeed, bacterial decontamination improves ALD both in human and animal models. This short review summarizes recent findings and highlights emerging trends in the gut-liver axis relevant to ALD.
Keywords: Gut Permeability; Inflammation; Lipopolysaccharide; Microbiome.
Copyright © 2015 AGA Institute. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.