[Mechanism of gut-microbiota-liver axis in the pathogenesis of intestinal failure-associated liver disease]

Zhonghua Wei Chang Wai Ke Za Zhi. 2021 Jan 25;24(1):94-100. doi: 10.3760/cma.j.cn.441530-20201009-00550.
[Article in Chinese]


Intestinal failure (IF) is defined as the critical reduction of functional intestines below the minimum needed to absorb nutrients and fluids, so that intravenous supplementation with parenteral nutrition (PN) is required to maintain health and/or growth. Although the benefits are evident, patients receiving PN can suffer from serious cholestasis due to lack of enteral feeding and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). One such complication that may arise is intestinal failure-associated liver disease (IFALD). Evidences from recent studies suggest that alterations in the intestinal microbiota, as well as intraluminal bile acid driven signaling, may play a critical role in both hepatic and intestinal injury. Since Marshall first proposed the concept of the gut-liver axis in 1998, the role of gut-liver axis disorders in the development of IFALD has received considerable attention. The conversation between gut and liver is the key to maintain liver metabolism and intestinal homeostasis, which influences each other and is reciprocal causation. However, as a "forgotten organ" , intestinal microbiota on the pathogenesis of IFALD has not been well reflected. As such, we propose, for the first time, the concept of gut-microbiota-liver axis to emphasize the importance of intestinal microbiota in the interaction of gut-liver axis. Analysis and research on gut-microbiota-liver axis will be of great significance for understanding the pathogenesis of IFALD and improving the prevention and treatment measures.


Keywords: Gut-liver axis; Gut-microbiota-liver axis; Intestinal failure; Intestinal failure-associated liver disease; Short bowel syndrome.

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Infections / etiology
  • Bacterial Infections / physiopathology
  • Bile Acids and Salts / physiology
  • Cholestasis / etiology
  • Cholestasis / microbiology
  • Cholestasis / physiopathology
  • Enteral Nutrition
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome* / physiology
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Diseases* / etiology
  • Intestinal Diseases* / microbiology
  • Intestinal Diseases* / physiopathology
  • Intestines / microbiology
  • Intestines / physiology
  • Intestines / physiopathology
  • Liver / microbiology
  • Liver / physiology
  • Liver / physiopathology*
  • Liver Diseases* / etiology
  • Liver Diseases* / microbiology
  • Liver Diseases* / physiopathology
  • Parenteral Nutrition / adverse effects*
  • Short Bowel Syndrome / complications
  • Short Bowel Syndrome / diet therapy
  • Short Bowel Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Bile Acids and Salts