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Gastroenterology Research and Practice
Volume 2010 (2010), Article ID 453563, 13 pages
Review Article

Contribution of Gut Bacteria to Liver Pathobiology

1Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA
2Department of Surgery, University of Heidelberg, 69120, Heidelberg, Germany
3Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, College of Human Ecology, East Carolina University, 110 Rivers Building, Greenville, NC 27858-4353, USA

Received 16 April 2010; Accepted 17 June 2010

Academic Editor: Ekihiro Seki

Copyright © 2010 Gakuhei Son et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Emerging evidence suggests a strong interaction between the gut microbiota and health and disease. The interactions of the gut microbiota and the liver have only recently been investigated in detail. Receiving approximately 70% of its blood supply from the intestinal venous outflow, the liver represents the first line of defense against gut-derived antigens and is equipped with a broad array of immune cells (i.e., macrophages, lymphocytes, natural killer cells, and dendritic cells) to accomplish this function. In the setting of tissue injury, whereby the liver is otherwise damaged (e.g., viral infection, toxin exposure, ischemic tissue damage, etc.), these same immune cell populations and their interactions with the infiltrating gut bacteria likely contribute to and promote these pathologies. The following paper will highlight recent studies investigating the relationship between the gut microbiota, liver biology, and pathobiology. Defining these connections will likely provide new targets for therapy or prevention of a wide variety of acute and chronic liver pathologies.