The gut barrier, intestinal microbiota, and liver disease: Molecular mechanisms and strategies to manage

Julio Plaza-Díaz, Patricio Solís-Urra, Fernando Rodríguez-Rodríguez, Jorge Olivares-Arancibia, Miguel Navarro-Oliveros, Francisco Abadía-Molina, Ana I. Álvarez-Mercado

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Liver disease encompasses pathologies as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, alcohol liver disease, hepatocellular carcinoma, viral hepatitis, and autoimmune hepatitis. Nowadays, underlying mechanisms associating gut permeability and liver disease development are not well understood, although evidence points to the involvement of intestinal microbiota and their metabolites. Animal studies have shown alterations in Toll-like receptor signaling related to the leaky gut syndrome by the action of bacterial lipopolysaccharide. In humans, modifications of the intestinal microbiota in intestinal permeability have also been related to liver disease. Some of these changes were observed in bacterial species belonging Roseburia, Streptococcus, and Rothia. Currently, numerous strategies to treat liver disease are being assessed. This review summarizes and discusses studies addressed to determine mechanisms associated with the microbiota able to alter the intestinal barrier complementing the progress and advancement of liver disease, as well as the main strategies under development to manage these pathologies. We highlight those approaches that have shown improvement in intestinal microbiota and barrier function, namely lifestyle changes (diet and physical activity) and probiotics intervention. Nevertheless, knowledge about how such modifications are beneficial is still limited and specific mechanisms involved are not clear. Thus, further in-vitro, animal, and human studies are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8351
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number21
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2020


  • Intestinal barrier
  • Intestinal permeability
  • Liver disease
  • Microbiota


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