Clin Mol Hepatol.  2020 Oct;26(4):595-605. 10.3350/cmh.2020.0086.

From intestinal dysbiosis to alcohol-associated liver disease

  • 1Department of Clinical Analysis, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianopolis, SC, Brazil
  • 2Department of Medicine, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA


Alcohol-associated intestinal dysbiosis and bacterial overgrowth can lead to a dysregulation of tryptophan metabolism and lower production of indoles. Several of these indole derivatives are aryl hydrocarbon receptor ligands that, in turn, are involved in antimicrobial defense via induction of interleukin-22 (IL-22). IL-22 increases the expression of intestinal regenerating islet-derived 3 (Reg3) lectins, which maintain low bacterial colonization of the inner mucus layer and reduce bacterial translocation to the liver. Chronic alcohol consumption is associated with reduced intestinal expression of Reg3β and Reg3γ, increased numbers of mucosa-associated bacteria and bacterial translocation. Translocated microbial products and viable bacteria reach the liver and activate the innate immune system. Release of inflammatory molecules promotes inflammation, contributes to hepatocyte death and results in a fibrotic response. This review summarizes the mechanisms by which chronic alcohol intake changes the gut microbiota and contributes to alcohol-associated liver disease by changing microbial-derived metabolites.


Dysbiosis; Tryptophan; Aryl hydrocarbon receptor; Interleukin-22; Alcohol-associated liver disease
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