Presented by: Paul Nelson
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which is strongly associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes, affects up to 25% of the adult population in the US. Human and mouse studies1, 2 have suggested gut microbiome as a causal factor in the pathogenesis of NAFLD. To investigate the role of the gut microbiome in NAFLD, we examined metagenomics and metabolomics from 211 subjects with NAFLD and 457 healthy controls from the Nurses’ Health Study II. We found that NAFLD explains a significant, but relatively small (>1%), amount of the taxonomic and metabolic variability in the microbiome. Despite this relatively weak signal, we identified several metabolites and species associated with the disease phenotype. Specifically, we highlight the role of the microbially produced bile acid, isoallolithocholic acid (isoalloLCA) in NAFLD. Our results link together previous research on microbial manipulation of Treg and Th17 immune cells3, and the role of the immune system in NAFLD4. All together this study represents the largest multi-omics study to date of the microbiome in NAFLD.