Refereed review article in scientific journal (A2)

Fecal Metagenomics and Metabolomics Identifying Microbial Signatures in Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

List of AuthorsPekkala Satu


Publication year2023

JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences


Journal acronymINT J MOL SCI

Article number 4855

Volume number24

Issue number5

Number of pages14




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The frequency of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has intensified, creating diagnostic challenges and increasing the need for reliable non-invasive diagnostic tools. Due to the importance of the gut-liver axis in the progression of NAFLD, studies attempt to reveal microbial signatures in NAFLD, evaluate them as diagnostic biomarkers, and to predict disease progression. The gut microbiome affects human physiology by processing the ingested food into bioactive metabolites. These molecules can penetrate the portal vein and the liver to promote or prevent hepatic fat accumulation. Here, the findings of human fecal metagenomic and metabolomic studies relating to NAFLD are reviewed. The studies present mostly distinct, and even contradictory, findings regarding microbial metabolites and functional genes in NAFLD. The most abundantly reproducing microbial biomarkers include increased lipopolysaccharides and peptidoglycan biosynthesis, enhanced degradation of lysine, increased levels of branched chain amino acids, as well as altered lipid and carbohydrate metabolism. Among other causes, the discrepancies between the studies may be related to the obesity status of the patients and the severity of NAFLD. In none of the studies, except for one, was diet considered, although it is an important factor driving gut microbiota metabolism. Future studies should consider diet in these analyses.

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Last updated on 2023-09-05 at 12:03