A Nine-Strain Bacterial Consortium Improves Portal Hypertension and Insulin Signaling and Delays NAFLD Progression In Vivo
The gut microbiome has a recognized role in Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and associated comorbidities such as Type-2 diabetes and obesity. Stool transplantation has been shown to improve disease by restoring endothelial function and insulin signaling. However, more patient-friendly treatments are required. The present study aimed to test the effect of a defined bacterial consortium of nine gut commensal strains in two in vivo rodent models of Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH): a rat model of NASH and portal hypertension (PHT), and the Stelic animal (mouse) model (STAM™). In both studies the consortium was administered orally q.d. after disease induction. In the NASH rats, the consortium was administered for 2 weeks and compared to stool transplant. In the STAM™ study administration was performed for 4 weeks, and the effects compared to vehicle or Telmisartan at the stage of NASH/early fibrosis. A second group of animals was followed for another 3 weeks to assess later-stage fibrosis. In the NASH rats, an improvement in PHT and endothelial function was observed. Gut microbial compositional changes also revealed that the consortium achieved a more defined and richer replacement of the gut microbiome than stool transplantation. Moreover, liver transcriptomics suggested a beneficial modulation of pro-fibrogenic pathways. An improvement in liver fibrosis was then confirmed in the STAM™ study. In this study, the bacterial consortium improved the NAFLD activity score, consistent with a decrease in steatosis and ballooning. Serum cytokeratin-18 levels were also reduced. Therefore, administration of a specific bacterial consortium of defined composition can ameliorate NASH, PHT, and fibrosis, and delay disease progression.
Bacterial consortium; Gut microbiome; Portal hypertension
Pinheiro I, Barberá A, Raurell I, Estrella F, de Leeuw M, Bolca S, et al. A Nine-Strain Bacterial Consortium Improves Portal Hypertension and Insulin Signaling and Delays NAFLD Progression In Vivo. Biomedicines. 2022 May 20;10(5):1191.
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