Intestinal microbiota in liver disease

Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol. 2016 Feb;30(1):133-42. doi: 10.1016/j.bpg.2016.02.004. Epub 2016 Feb 9.


The intestinal microbiota have emerged as a topic of intense interest in gastroenterology and hepatology. The liver is on the front line as the first filter of nutrients, toxins and bacterial metabolites from the intestines and we are becoming increasingly aware of interactions among the gut, liver and immune system as important mediators of liver health and disease. Manipulating the microbiota with therapeutic intent is a rapidly expanding field. In this review, we will describe what is known about the contribution of intestinal microbiota to liver homeostasis; the role of dysbiosis in the pathogenesis of liver disease including alcoholic and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma; and the therapeutic manifestations of altering intestinal microbiota via antibiotics, prebiotics, probiotics and fecal microbiota transplantation.

Keywords: Liver-gut axis; Microbiome; NASH; Probiotics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dysbiosis / physiopathology
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / physiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Immune System
  • Liver Diseases / microbiology
  • Liver Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Liver Diseases / prevention & control
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use