Are Probiotics Effective in Targeting Alcoholic Liver Diseases?Probiotics Antimicrob Proteins 2019; 11(2):335-347PA
Alcoholic liver disease (ALD) encompasses a broad spectrum of disorders including steatosis, steatohepatitis, fibrosis, and cirrhosis. Despite intensive research in the last two decades, there is currently no Food and Drug Administration-approved therapy for treating ALD. Several studies have demonstrated the importance of the gut-liver axis and gut microbiome on the pathogenesis of ALD. Alcohol may induce intestinal dysbiosis and increased intestinal permeability, which in turn result in increased levels of pathogen-associated molecular patterns such as lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and translocation of microbial products from the gut to the liver (bacterial translocation). LPS is an inflammatory signal that activates toll-like receptor 4 on Kupffer cells, contributing to the inflammation observed in ALD. Recently, probiotics have been shown to be effective in reducing or preventing the progression of ALD. A potential mechanism is that the probiotics transforms the composition of intestinal microbiota, which leads to reductions in alcohol-induced dysbiosis, intestinal permeability, bacterial translocation, endotoxemia, and consequently, the development of ALD. While transformation of intestinal microbiota by probiotics appears to be a promising therapeutic strategy for the treatment of intestinal barrier dysfunction, there is a scarcity of research that studies probiotics in the context of ALD. In this review, we discuss the potential therapeutic applications of probiotics in the treatment of ALD.