Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the hepatic consequence of metabolic syndrome, which often also includes obesity, diabetes, and dyslipidemia. The connection between gut microbiota (GM) and NAFLD has attracted significant attention in recent years. Data has shown that GM affects hepatic lipid metabolism and influences the balance between pro/anti-inflammatory effectors in the liver. Although studies reveal the association between GM dysbiosis and NAFLD, decoding the mechanisms of gut dysbiosis resulting in NAFLD remains challenging. The potential pathophysiology that links GM dysbiosis to NAFLD can be summarized as: (1) disrupting the balance between energy harvest and expenditure, (2) promoting hepatic inflammation (impairing intestinal integrity, facilitating endotoxemia, and initiating inflammatory cascades with cytokines releasing), and (3) altered biochemistry metabolism and GM-related metabolites (i.e., bile acid, short-chain fatty acids, aromatic amino acid derivatives, branched-chain amino acids, choline, ethanol). Due to the hypothesis that probiotics/synbiotics could normalize GM and reverse dysbiosis, there have been efforts to investigate the therapeutic effect of probiotics/synbiotics in patients with NAFLD. Recent randomized clinical trials suggest that probiotics/synbiotics could improve transaminases, hepatic steatosis, and reduce hepatic inflammation. Despite these promising results, future studies are necessary to understand the full role GM plays in NAFLD development and progression. Additionally, further data is needed to unravel probiotics/synbiotics efficacy, safety, and sustainability as a novel pharmacologic approaches to NAFLD.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited