Send to

Choose Destination
World J Gastroenterol. 2014 Nov 28;20(44):16452-63. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v20.i44.16452.

Obesity, fatty liver disease and intestinal microbiota.

Author information

Nur Arslan, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Nutrition and Metabolism, Dokuz Eylul University Faculty of Medicine, Izmir 35340, Turkey.


Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a chronic liver disorder that is increasing in prevalence with the worldwide epidemic of obesity. NAFLD is the hepatic manifestation of the metabolic syndrome. The term NAFLD describes a spectrum of liver pathology ranges from simple steatosis to steatosis with inflammation nonalcoholic steatohepatitis and even cirrhosis. Metabolic syndrome and NAFLD also predict hepatocellular carcinoma. Many genetic and environmental factors have been suggested to contribute to the development of obesity and NAFLD, but the exact mechanisms are not known. Intestinal ecosystem contains trillions of microorganisms including bacteria, Archaea, yeasts and viruses. Several studies support the relationship between the intestinal microbial changes and obesity and also its complications, including insulin resistance and NAFLD. Given that the gut and liver are connected by the portal venous system, it makes the liver more vulnerable to translocation of bacteria, bacterial products, endotoxins or secreted cytokines. Altered intestinal microbiota (dysbiosis) may stimulate hepatic fat deposition through several mechanisms: regulation of gut permeability, increasing low-grade inflammation, modulation of dietary choline metabolism, regulation of bile acid metabolism and producing endogenous ethanol. Regulation of intestinal microbial ecosystem by diet modifications or by using probiotics and prebiotics as a treatment for obesity and its complications might be the issue of further investigations.


Dysbiosis, Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease; Intestinal microbiota; Obesity

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center