Changes in bacterial communities are associated with the pathogenesis of many diseases including inflammatory bowel disease and liver disease. Dysbiosis can induce intestinal inflammation resulting in increased intestinal permeability and bacterial translocation. The majority of chronic liver diseases are associated with bacterial translocation resulting in or enhancing an inflammatory response in the liver. Intestinal inflammation and a dysfunctional intestinal barrier are not sufficient to cause liver disease in the absence of an additional liver insult. In this article, the authors summarize differences in intestinal microbiota composition between Eastern and Western countries. The authors specifically discuss whether differences in microbiota composition could explain the epidemiological differences in liver disease found in Asia and Europe/the USA.
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