It is not clear how this disease develops, but recent studies suggest that the bacterial population in the gut influences NAFLD.
A new study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation provides a link between molecular signaling pathways in the gut, the intestinal microbiome, and development of NAFLD.
Frank Gonzalez and colleagues at the National Cancer Institute found that disruption of the gut microflora prevented development of NAFLD in mice fed a high fat diet.
Additionally, disruption of the microflora decreased intestinal farnesoid X receptor (FXR) signaling, which influences bile acid synthesis.
Mice lacking FXR were also protected from developing NAFLD when fed a high fat diet.
Together, these data indicate that activation of FXR by the gut microbiome promotes development of NAFLD.
Moreover, the results of this study suggest that altering microbial populations in the gut or inhibiting FXR may protect against the development of NAFLD.
J Clin Invest. doi:10.1172/JCI76738.