Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the leading cause of liver disease worldwide, affecting both adults and children and will result, in the near future, as the leading cause of end-stage liver disease. Indeed, its prevalence is rapidly increasing, and NAFLD is becoming a major public health concern. For this reason, great efforts are needed to identify its pathogenetic factors and new therapeutic approaches. In the past decade, enormous advances understanding the gut–liver axis—the complex network of cross-talking between the gut, microbiome and liver through the portal circulation—have elucidated its role as one of the main actors in the pathogenesis of NAFLD. Indeed, evidence shows that gut microbiota is involved in the development and progression of liver steatosis, inflammation and fibrosis seen in the context of NAFLD, as well as in the process of hepatocarcinogenesis. As a result, gut microbiota is currently emerging as a non-invasive biomarker for the diagnosis of disease and for the assessment of its severity. Additionally, to its enormous diagnostic potential, gut microbiota is currently studied as a therapeutic target in NAFLD: several different approaches targeting the gut homeostasis such as antibiotics, prebiotics, probiotics, symbiotics, adsorbents, bariatric surgery and fecal microbiota transplantation are emerging as promising therapeutic options.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Computer Science Applications
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry