Clin Mol Hepatol.  2020 Jul;26(3):294-301. 10.3350/cmh.2020.0057.

Fecal microbiota transplantation in alcohol related liver diseases

  • 1Department of Hepatology, Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, New Delhi, India


The current standard of care for severe alcoholic hepatitis (SAH) has several limitations in that only up to one-third of patients are eligible for steroid therapy. Additionally, steroids have their own issues: a portion of patients do not respond, while there is doubtful long-term benefit in those who do and a large proportion are ineligible to receive steroids entirely and hence have no definitive options for treatment. As such, there is a large gap between the problem and the available solutions. Alcohol causes dysbiosis and also disrupts gut barrier function, consequently promoting the translocation of microbial lipopolysaccharide into the portal circulation and liver. Therefore, probiotics, prebiotics, antibiotics, or transplantation of gut microbiota are likely to attenuate the dysbiosis-related liver insult. Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) is expected to have a role in managing alcoholic liver disease in general and SAH in particular by correcting dysbiosis, the primary insult. Results from mouse studies have suggested beyond doubt that alcohol-related liver injury is transferrable and also treatable by adopting FMT from suitable donors. Initial human trials from our center have affirmed benefits in human subjects with SAH as well, with both improvements in disease severity and as well as the rate of survival. Further studies addressing the head-to-head comparison of steroids and FMT are ongoing. Available preliminary data are promising and FMT and/or gut microbial modulation might become the standard of care in the near future for managing alcohol-related liver diseases, especially alcoholic hepatitis, with greater applicability, improved acceptability, and minimal side effects.


Fecal microbiota transplantation; Alcoholic liver diseases; Alcoholic hepatitis
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