Unveiling the Role of Gut Microbiota in NAFLD Pathogenesis

The human gut microbiome consists of a diverse community formed by 10-100 trillion microorganisms that perform different metabolic, protective, structural, and neurological functions in the host. Remarkably, the gut microbiota, through metabolite production/fermentation, modulates signaling pathways involved in the homeostasis of intestinal mucosa. Gut microbiota can be influenced by many extrinsic factors, in such manner that when a balanced interaction between the gastrointestinal tract and the resident microbiota is disrupted, intestinal and extra-intestinal diseases may develop. This includes metabolic disorders such as T2DM, dyslipidemia and/or NAFLD.

A major lab project involves the study of the role of gut microbiome profile in the pathogenesis of NAFLD, as well as to understand how the gut microbiota-derived metabolome is potentially linked to the progression of simple steatosis to NASH, fibrosis or even hepatocarcinoma (HCC). We are developing a multi-omic platform consisting in the combination of metagenomics for the determination of the gut microbiota composition and metabolomics for the determination of serum metabolites related to gut microbiota (e.g., short-chain fatty acids).