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Gut Microbes. 2015;6(6):388-91. doi: 10.1080/19490976.2015.1107696.

A dysbiotic subpopulation of alcohol-dependent subjects.

Author information

a Department of Adult Psychiatry ; Institute of Neuroscience; Université catholique de Louvain ; Brussels , Belgium.
b Mc Master Brain Body Institute at St Joseph's Healthcare ; Hamilton , Ontario , Canada.
c Department of Hepato-gastroenterology ; Institute of Clinical Research; Université catholique de Louvain ; Brussels , Belgium.
d Metabolism and Nutrition Research Group, Louvain Drug Research Institute; Université catholique de Louvain ; Brussels , Belgium.


The vast majority of studies that assessed the importance of biological factors for the development of psychiatric disorders focused on processes occurring at the brain level. Alcohol-dependence is a very frequent psychiatric disorder where psycho-pharmacological interventions are only of moderate efficacy. Our laboratory has recently described that a subpopulation of alcohol-dependent subjects, that accounted for approximately 40% of individuals tested, presented with an increased intestinal permeability, with a dysbiosis, with alterations in the metabolomic content of faeces--that could play a role in the increased permeability--and finally with a more severe profile of alcohol-dependence than the other non-dysbiotic subpopulation. In this addendum, we discuss the implications of our observations for the pathophysiology of alcohol dependence where we try to discriminate which addiction dimensions are likely related to the gut microbiota alterations and whether these alterations are the cause or the consequence of drinking habits.


alcohol dependence; alcohol use disorders; behavior; depression; gut microbiota; gut permeability; gut-brain axis; leaky gut; negative reinforcement

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