JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Review article: Alcohol and gut microbiota - the possible role of gut microbiota modulation in the treatment of alcoholic liver disease

G Vassallo, A Mirijello, A Ferrulli, M Antonelli, R Landolfi, A Gasbarrini, G Addolorato
Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics 2015, 41 (10): 917-27
25809237

BACKGROUND: Alcohol abuse represents the most common cause of liver disease in the Western countries. Pre-clinical and clinical studies showed that alcohol consumption affects amount and composition of gut microbiota. Moreover, gut flora plays an important role in the pathogenesis of alcoholic liver injury.

AIM: To review the relationship between alcohol administration and changes on gut microbiota, its involvement in the pathogenesis of alcoholic liver disease, and how gut microbiota modulation could be a target for the treatment of alcoholic liver disease.

METHODS: Articles were identified using the PubMed database with the search terms 'Alcohol', 'Gut Microbiota', 'Alcoholic liver disease', 'Probiotic', 'Prebiotic', 'Symbiotic' and 'Antibiotic'. English-language articles were screened for relevance. Full review of publications for the relevant studies was conducted, including additional publications that were identified from individual article reference lists.

RESULTS: Alcohol abuse induces changes in the composition of gut microbiota, although the exact mechanism for this alteration is not well known. The translocation of bacterial products into the portal blood appears to play a key role in alcohol-induced liver damage. Several studies show that the modulation of gut microbiota seem to be a promising strategy to reduce alcohol-induced liver injury.

CONCLUSIONS: Further studies are needed to better understand the relationship between alcohol administration and changes in gut microbiota, and its involvement in alcoholic liver disease. Moreover larger studies are needed to confirm the preliminary results on the therapeutic effects of gut microbiota modulation.

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