Gut Bacteria Protects Against High-Fat Diet-Induced Fatty Liver Disease

Jenn Hoskins
6th June, 2024

Gut Bacteria Protects Against High-Fat Diet-Induced Fatty Liver Disease

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Researchers from Xi'an Jiaotong University Health Science Center found that NAFLD patients have significantly lower levels of the bacterium Coprococcus
  • Administering Coprococcus to mice on a high-fat diet reversed liver lipid accumulation, inflammation, and fibrosis
  • This study suggests Coprococcus could be a promising probiotic for preventing and treating NAFLD in humans
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a growing health concern, leading to significant medical burdens worldwide. Despite various treatment strategies, effective management remains challenging. Recent research from Xi'an Jiaotong University Health Science Center has identified a promising probiotic for treating NAFLD[1]. In this study, blood and fecal samples were collected from 41 healthy volunteers and 44 patients diagnosed with NAFLD. Analysis of these samples using 16S rDNA sequencing and quantitative real-time PCR (RT-qPCR) revealed a significant reduction in the abundance of the bacterium Coprococcus in NAFLD patients. To explore the therapeutic potential of Coprococcus, researchers conducted animal experiments. Mice fed a high-fat diet (HFD) were administered Coprococcus, resulting in a notable reversal of liver lipid accumulation, inflammation, and fibrosis. These findings are particularly significant as they offer the first in vivo evidence that Coprococcus can prevent NAFLD, demonstrating similar probiotic effects to Lactobacillus GG (LGG), a well-known probiotic. This positions Coprococcus as a potential candidate for NAFLD prevention and treatment in humans. The study aligns with previous research emphasizing the role of gut microbiota in NAFLD. For instance, earlier studies have shown that probiotics can reduce visceral fat area (VFA) and intrahepatic fat (IHF) in NAFLD patients[2]. This reduction was linked to improved body weight and lower triglyceride levels. Another study highlighted the importance of gut microbial composition in NAFLD progression, noting reduced microbial diversity in patients with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a severe form of NAFLD[3]. The genus Collinsella was found to be significantly associated with NASH and linked to adverse lipid metabolism, suggesting that microbial composition profoundly affects disease progression. Further supporting the significance of gut microbiota, a large-scale study identified specific microbiome features and fecal bile acids as potential biomarkers for non-cirrhotic NASH fibrosis, providing a baseline against which therapeutic interventions can be compared[4]. Additionally, research has shown that tobacco smoking exacerbates NAFLD through nicotine accumulation in the intestine, which promotes inflammation and liver damage. The bacterium Bacteroides xylanisolvens was identified as an effective nicotine degrader, highlighting the potential of targeting gut bacteria to mitigate smoking-related NAFLD progression[5]. The current study from Xi'an Jiaotong University Health Science Center builds on this body of knowledge by identifying Coprococcus as a beneficial bacterium capable of reversing NAFLD-related liver damage in mice. This discovery opens new avenues for probiotic-based treatments for NAFLD, emphasizing the critical role of gut microbiota in liver health. The findings suggest that incorporating Coprococcus into therapeutic strategies could offer a novel, effective approach to managing NAFLD, potentially improving patient outcomes and reducing the disease burden.

HealthAnimal Science


Main Study

1) Coprococcus protects against high-fat diet-induced nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in mice.

Published 3rd June, 2024

Related Studies

2) Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Study of a Multispecies Probiotic Mixture in Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease.

3) Lower gut microbiome diversity and higher abundance of proinflammatory genus Collinsella are associated with biopsy-proven nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.

4) An integrated analysis of fecal microbiome and metabolomic features distinguish non-cirrhotic NASH from healthy control populations.

5) Gut bacteria alleviate smoking-related NASH by degrading gut nicotine.

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