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Certain types of gut bacteria linked to fatty liver

A new study has suggested that the abundance or scarcity of certain types of bacteria in the gut may also help predict susceptibility to non-alcoholic fatty liver.

In a metagenomic analysis of the microbial communities living in the intestinal tracts of 15 female patients participating in a study of the effects on liver condition from a choline-depleted diet, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte found a strong correlation between the relative abundances of two specific classes of bacteria and the development of fatty liver.

"Certain bacterial populations correlated very strongly with increased fat in the liver during a restricted choline diet," said Melanie Spencer, lead author of the study.

The researchers analyzed the genomes of the patients' gut bacteria before, during and after the patients were put on a choline deficient diet

Because all patients consumed identical diets during the study, the researchers predicted that the initially distinct and complex communities of microbes in the patients' intestinal tracts would react by becoming less distinct from each other.

The researchers found instead that, though each of the patients' bacterial communities did change a bit, each individual's community still remained distinctive throughout the study.

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