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Front Immunol. 2017 Sep 19;8:1159. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2017.01159. eCollection 2017.

Fructose: A Dietary Sugar in Crosstalk with Microbiota Contributing to the Development and Progression of Non-Alcoholic Liver Disease.

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Institute of Molecular Pathobiochemistry, Experimental Gene Therapy and Clinical Chemistry (IFMPEGKC), RWTH University Hospital Aachen, Aachen, Germany.
Culture Collection of Switzerland AG (CCOS), Wädenswil, Switzerland.


Fructose is one of the key dietary catalysts in the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NAFLD comprises a complex disease spectrum, including steatosis (fatty liver), non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, hepatocyte injury, inflammation, and fibrosis. It is also the hepatic manifestation of the metabolic syndrome, which covers abdominal obesity, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, glucose intolerance, or type 2 diabetes mellitus. Commensal bacteria modulate the host immune system, protect against exogenous pathogens, and are gatekeepers in intestinal barrier function and maturation. Dysbalanced intestinal microbiota composition influences a variety of NAFLD-associated clinical conditions. Conversely, nutritional supplementation with probiotics and preobiotics impacting composition of gut microbiota can improve the outcome of NAFLD. In crosstalk with the host immune system, the gut microbiota is able to modulate inflammation, insulin resistance, and intestinal permeability. Moreover, the composition of microbiota of an individual is a kind of fingerprint highly influenced by diet. In addition, not only the microbiota itself but also its metabolites influence the metabolism and host immune system. The gut microbiota can produce vitamins and a variety of nutrients including short-chain fatty acids. Holding a healthy balance of the microbiota is therefore highly important. In the present review, we discuss the impact of long-term intake of fructose on the composition of the intestinal microbiota and its biological consequences in regard to liver homeostasis and disease. In particular, we will refer about fructose-induced alterations of the tight junction proteins affecting the gut permeability, leading to the translocation of bacteria and bacterial endotoxins into the blood circulation.


SCFA; fructose; gut-liver-axis; insulin resistance; inulin; microbiota; prebiotics; probiotics

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