Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common liver disease in Western countries and correlates strongly with obesity and metabolic syndrome. It ranges from benign, reversible steatosis to irreversible nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, which can lead to fibrosis and liver cancer.
Dr. Arul Jayaraman, fellow researchers at Texas A&M and Dr. Kyongbum Lee at Tufts University have found a high-fat diet significantly changes the composition and function of a person’s intestinal microbiota, specifically three metabolites – tryptamine (TA), indole-3-acetate (I3A) and xanthurenic acid. Two have a direct link to fatty liver disease.
The team found TA and I3A reduce expression of inflammatory molecules in macrophages and fat accumulation in hepatocytes. Depletion of both promotes NAFLD progression.
The researchers have examined the feasibility of adding TA and I3A back to the system to control NAFLD and found I3A is better suited for controlling fat accumulation and inflammation.
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