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

on mice, and by reports that probiotics can improve steatosis that is the result of a high fat diet.

Importantly, there was no association between either small intestinal bacterial overgrowth or intestinal permeability and steatohepatitis or fibrosis, which argues against a primary role for gut bacteria in the progression of NAFLD to more severe liver disease.

"In conclusion," the authors write, "we have demonstrated that NAFLD is associated with increased intestinal permeability and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth and that these factors are associated with the severity of hepatic steatosis." Further studies are needed to determine the exact causal relationship, and could lead to new therapies for NAFLD that address the microbiome of the gut.

An accompanying editorial by Elisabetta Bugianesi and Ester Vanni of the University of Turin applauds the new findings. "The authors were able to demonstrate both the presence of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth and of increased intestinal permeability in patients with NAFLD, providing the first demonstration of gut leakiness in NAFLD," they write.

"The study by Luca Miele and colleagues raises the possibility that gut microbiota and intestine permeability are important mediators of diet-induced metabolic disturbances in NAFLD," they conclude.

Lifestyle-focused therapy would be best for patients with NAFLD, Bugianesi and Vanni suggest, but manipulating gut flora by antibiotics, prebiotics, and probiotics could help counteract the effect of unbalanced diets on metabolic diseases.


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Contact: Sean Wagner
medicalnews@bos.blackwellpublishing.com
781-388-8550
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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