The gut-liver axis in liver disease: Pathophysiological basis for therapy.

Journal of Hepatology
Agustín AlbillosMaría Rescigno

Abstract

The gut-liver axis refers to the bidirectional relationship between the gut and its microbiota, and the liver, resulting from the integration of signals generated by dietary, genetic and environmental factors. This reciprocal interaction is established by the portal vein which enables transport of gut-derived products directly to the liver, and the liver feedback route of bile and antibody secretion to the intestine. The intestinal mucosal and vascular barrier is the functional and anatomical structure that serves as a playground for the interactions between the gut and the liver, limiting the systemic dissemination of microbes and toxins while allowing nutrients to access the circulation and to reach the liver. The control of microbial communities is critical to maintaining homeostasis of the gut-liver axis, and as part of this bidirectional communication the liver shapes intestinal microbial communities. Alcohol disrupts the gut-liver axis at multiple interconnected levels, including the gut microbiome, mucus barrier, epithelial barrier and at the level of antimicrobial peptide production, which increases microbial exposure and the proinflammatory environment of the liver. Growing evidence indicates the pathogenetic role of m...Continue Reading

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