An open access editorial in the November edition of Alcohol and Alcoholism highlights how diet and the gut microbiome/ metabolome may influence the development/severity of ALD. An alcohol-preferring strain and WT mice were fed alcohol by different techniques and with different diet compositions. Interestingly, the greatest alcohol consumers did not develop the worst ALD.
The findings suggest that the types of dietary fat play a critical role in ethanol-mediated changes of the gut microbiota composition, which was linked with the ALD development and progression. Moreover, fecal metabolites were also changed by these different diets. Low fecal levels of the short chain fatty acid butyrate was seen in the unsaturated fat diet compared to the saturated fat diet group.
The authors comment that a critical role of the gut microbiome and fecal metabolites is becoming increasingly appreciated in experimental and human ALD. Marked differences in the composition of the diets used in this study may help explain why mice consuming the highest amounts of alcohol did not develop the most severe liver injury.
Source: More Alcohol, More Liver Injury: Not Always True. Irina Kirpich Craig McClain Alcohol and Alcoholism, Volume 52, Issue 6, 1 November 2017, Pages 627–628, doi.org/10.1093/alcalc/agx064.