The well-known problem related to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is of significant incidence in obese individuals and often with an unstoppable evolution into cirrhosis and fibrosis, even in neoplasia. The study of this phenomenon over the years has highlighted a possible trigger of the pathology by environmental, genetic and metabolic factors, as well as by the composition and modifications of the intestinal microbiota.

It is precisely this last aspect that has attracted the attention of the Californian group coordinated by Bern Schnabl, who assessed if patients affected by this problem showed a greater intestinal permeability as a negative factor of NAFLD; the results showed a greater presence in the blood of particular substances deriving from the metabolism of the intestinal bacterial flora (above all bile acids and short-chain fatty acids, such as ethanol, phenylacetic acid and 3-4-hydropenylactate) able to play an important role in the development of the disease.

From these considerations, the researchers involved in the study, further confirming the recent knowledge of a functional axis existing among the intestine, liver and the metabolism, hypothesize new strategies aimed at modifying the quantity and composition of the intestinal bacterial flora from early childhood, in order to keep intact the mucosal permeability and prevent bacterial growth favoring the production of these metabolites.

Pr De Simone, About