Topic Highlight
Copyright ©The Author(s) 2016. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Gastroenterol. Jan 7, 2016; 22(1): 50-71
Published online Jan 7, 2016. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v22.i1.50
Metabolic derivatives of alcohol and the molecular culprits of fibro-hepatocarcinogenesis: Allies or enemies?
Alex Boye, Yu-Hong Zou, Yan Yang
Alex Boye, Yan Yang, Department of Pharmacology and Institute of Natural Medicine, Anhui Medical University, Hefei 230032, Anhui Province, China
Alex Boye, Department of Medical Laboratory Science, College of Allied Health Sciences, University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast 25064, Ghana
Yu-Hong Zou, Department of Biology, School of Science, Center for Regenerative Biology and Medicine, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN 46202, United States
Author contributions: Boye A wrote the manuscript; Boye A, Zou YH and Yang Y conceived the idea, retrieved information and proof-read the first draft of the manuscript; Boye A, Zou YH and Yang Y reviewed and edited the final manuscript for important intellectual content.
Supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 81374012 and No. 81573652.
Conflict-of-interest statement: The authors declared no potential conflicts of interest relevant to this article.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article which was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Correspondence to: Yan Yang, MD, PhD, Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Institute of Natural Medicine, Anhui Medical University, Meishan Road, Hefei 230032, Anhui Province, China.
Telephone: +86-551-65161133
Received: April 28, 2015
Peer-review started: May 6, 2015
First decision: September 29, 2015
Revised: October 12, 2015
Accepted: November 19, 2015
Article in press: November 19, 2015
Published online: January 7, 2016
Core Tip

Core tip: Alcoholic liver disease (ALD) leading to fibro-hepatocarcinogenesis may show a bidirectional origin within the gut-liver axis. We bring to light the subtle reprogramming of the gut epithelium, gut microbiome and hepatic cells by both metabolic derivatives and unstable chemical species secondary to chronic alcohol intake, and their concerted role in ALD. We specifically highlight the integrative role of transforming growth factor-β/Smad, which synchronizes inflammatory and fibrogenic signals within the gut-liver axis. The gut may provide a less invasive option not only for prognosis and treatment of ALD but also for future research. We suggest that therapies for ALD and fibro-hepatocarcinogenesis should focus on restoring the gut microbiome.