Links of gut microbiota composition with alcohol dependence syndrome and alcoholic liver disease

Veronika B Dubinkina, Alexander V Tyakht, Vera Y Odintsova, Konstantin S Yarygin, Boris A Kovarsky, Alexander V Pavlenko, Dmitry S Ischenko, Anna S Popenko, Dmitry G Alexeev, Anastasiya Y Taraskina, Regina F Nasyrova, Evgeny M Krupitsky, Nino V Shalikiani, Igor G Bakulin, Petr L Shcherbakov, Lyubov O Skorodumova, Andrei K Larin, Elena S Kostryukova, Rustam A Abdulkhakov, Sayar R Abdulkhakov, Sergey Y Malanin, Ruzilya K Ismagilova, Tatiana V Grigoryeva, Elena N Ilina, Vadim M Govorun
Microbiome 2017 October 17, 5 (1): 141

BACKGROUND: Alcohol abuse has deleterious effects on human health by disrupting the functions of many organs and systems. Gut microbiota has been implicated in the pathogenesis of alcohol-related liver diseases, with its composition manifesting expressed dysbiosis in patients suffering from alcoholic dependence. Due to its inherent plasticity, gut microbiota is an important target for prevention and treatment of these diseases. Identification of the impact of alcohol abuse with associated psychiatric symptoms on the gut community structure is confounded by the liver dysfunction. In order to differentiate the effects of these two factors, we conducted a comparative "shotgun" metagenomic survey of 99 patients with the alcohol dependence syndrome represented by two cohorts-with and without liver cirrhosis. The taxonomic and functional composition of the gut microbiota was subjected to a multifactor analysis including comparison with the external control group.

RESULTS: Alcoholic dependence and liver cirrhosis were associated with profound shifts in gut community structures and metabolic potential across the patients. The specific effects on species-level community composition were remarkably different between cohorts with and without liver cirrhosis. In both cases, the commensal microbiota was found to be depleted. Alcoholic dependence was inversely associated with the levels of butyrate-producing species from the Clostridiales order, while the cirrhosis-with multiple members of the Bacteroidales order. The opportunist pathogens linked to alcoholic dependence included pro-inflammatory Enterobacteriaceae, while the hallmarks of cirrhosis included an increase of oral microbes in the gut and more frequent occurrence of abnormal community structures. Interestingly, each of the two factors was associated with the expressed enrichment in many Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus-but the exact set of the species was different between alcoholic dependence and liver cirrhosis. At the level of functional potential, the patients showed different patterns of increase in functions related to alcohol metabolism and virulence factors, as well as pathways related to inflammation.

CONCLUSIONS: Multiple shifts in the community structure and metabolic potential suggest strong negative influence of alcohol dependence and associated liver dysfunction on gut microbiota. The identified differences in patterns of impact between these two factors are important for planning of personalized treatment and prevention of these pathologies via microbiota modulation. Particularly, the expansion of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus suggests that probiotic interventions for patients with alcohol-related disorders using representatives of the same taxa should be considered with caution. Taxonomic and functional analysis shows an increased propensity of the gut microbiota to synthesis of the toxic acetaldehyde, suggesting higher risk of colorectal cancer and other pathologies in alcoholics.

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