Gut-Pancreas-Liver Axis as a Target for Treatment of NAFLD/NASH

Gianluca Svegliati-Baroni, Bárbara Patrício, Gessica Lioci, Maria Paula Macedo, Amalia Gastaldelli
International Journal of Molecular Sciences 2020 August 13, 21 (16)
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) represents the most common form of chronic liver disease worldwide. Due to its association with obesity and diabetes and the fall in hepatitis C virus morbidity, cirrhosis in NAFLD is becoming the most frequent indication to liver transplantation, but the pathogenetic mechanisms are still not completely understood. The so-called gut-liver axis has gained enormous interest when data showed that its alteration can lead to NAFLD development and might favor the occurrence of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Moreover, several therapeutic approaches targeting the gut-pancreas-liver axis, e.g., incretins, showed promising results in NASH treatment. In this review, we describe the role of incretin hormones in NAFLD/NASH pathogenesis and treatment and how metagenomic/metabolomic alterations in the gut microbiota can lead to NASH in the presence of gut barrier modifications favoring the passage of bacteria or bacterial products in the portal circulation, i.e., bacterial translocation.

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