The Biocodex Microbiota Foundation recently awarded a grant of 200,000 euros to Bernd Schnabl, MD, a professor from University of California, San Diego, to advance research on the correlation between gut microbiota and alcoholic hepatitis, according to a press release.
“My lab is very interested in the interaction between the gut bacteria microbiome and liver disease,” Schnabl told Healio Gastroenterology and Liver Disease. “We had compared changes in the gut microbiome in certain liver diseases and saw the most dramatic changes in composition in preclinical models of alcoholic liver disease.”
The previous studies that determined ALD had the most dramatic changes in the gut microbiome also included models on obesity, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, hepatotoxicity and cholestatic liver disease.
Schnabl also explained that many other preclinical studies have shown a significant correlation between gut microbiota and ALD, especially after fecal microbiota transplant.
“Alcoholic hepatitis is one entity among the entire spectrum of alcoholic liver diseases,” Schnabl said. “Not all patients who chronically drink alcohol will develop alcoholic hepatitis, but patients who do develop alcoholic hepatitis have a high rate of mortality over a short period of time.”
Schnabl stated that he will use the grant to continue preclinical work to determine the exact bacteria that drives progression of ALD and to develop a method of targeting that bacteria with nonabsorbable antibiotics that will not affect the entire gut flora system.
“We do not understand the exact mechanism, how the gut bacteria drive the disease,” Schnabl said, “but once we can better identify the function of bacteria in the disease we can precisely target that area of the microbiome.” – by Talitha Bennett
Disclosure: Schnabl reports no relevant financial disclosures.