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Intestinal bacteria associated with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
Date:5/28/2009

Intestinal permeability and an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine are both associated with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). These findings are revealed in a new study in the June issue of Hepatology, a journal published by John Wiley & Sons on behalf of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD). The article is also available online at Wiley Interscience (www.interscience.wiley.com).

Previous studies have suggested that bacteria from the intestine might play a role in NAFLD, which is the hepatic component of the Metabolic Syndrome. NAFLD can worsen to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, and some experts have wondered if liver exposure to bacteria from the gut could promote this progression.

Researchers, led by Antonio Grieco of Rome , investigated gut permeability in patients with NAFLD and compared the results to patients with untreated celiac disease, who are known to be prone to this condition, and to healthy volunteers.

Their study included 35 patients with biopsy-confirmed NAFLD, 27 with celiac disease and 24 healthy volunteers. The researchers checked the level of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth in each participant using glucose breath testing. They assessed intestinal permeability by looking at urinary excretion of Cr-EDTA. And they examined the integrity of tight junctions within the gut through duodenal biopsies.

"The main findings of this study are that both intestinal permeability and the prevalence of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth are increased in patients with NAFLD and correlate with the severity of steatosis," the authors report. "Disruption of tight junction integrity may explain the increased permeability in these patients."

The authors hypothesize that small intestinal bacterial overgrowth and/or the associated increase in gut permeability may cause steatosis. This idea is supported by studies
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Contact: Sean Wagner
medicalnews@bos.blackwellpublishing.com
781-388-8550
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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