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Gut. 2001 Feb;48(2):206-11.

The role of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, intestinal permeability, endotoxaemia, and tumour necrosis factor alpha in the pathogenesis of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis.

Author information

1
Department of Gastroenterology, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia. alan.wigg@flinders.edu.au

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth may contribute to the development of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, perhaps by increasing intestinal permeability and promoting the absorption of endotoxin or other enteric bacterial products.

AIMS:

To investigate the prevalence of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, increased intestinal permeability, elevated endotoxin, and tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) levels in patients with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and in control subjects.

PATIENTS AND METHODS:

Twenty two patients with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and 23 control subjects were studied. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth was assessed by a combined (14)C-D-xylose and lactulose breath test. Intestinal permeability was assessed by a dual lactulose-rhamnose sugar test. Serum endotoxin levels were determined using the limulus amoebocyte lysate assay and TNF-alpha levels using an ELISA.

RESULTS:

Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth was present in 50% of patients with non-alcoholic steatosis and 22% of control subjects (p=0.048). Mean TNF-alpha levels in non-alcoholic steatohepatitis patients and control subjects were 14.2 and 7.5 pg/ml, respectively (p=0.001). Intestinal permeability and serum endotoxin levels were similar in the two groups.

CONCLUSIONS:

Patients with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis have a higher prevalence of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, as assessed by the (14)C-D-xylose-lactulose breath test, and higher TNF-alpha levels in comparison with control subjects. This is not accompanied by increased intestinal permeability or elevated endotoxin levels.

PMID:
11156641
PMCID:
PMC1728215
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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