In DepthBiomedicine

Bacterial toxin linked to severe alcoholic liver disease

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Science  15 Nov 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6467, pp. 784
DOI: 10.1126/science.366.6467.784

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Summary

For drinkers whose livers have been destroyed by alcohol, organ transplants are often the only realistic option. But because of shortages and rules that withhold new livers from people who have not shed their alcohol addiction, many go without. Tens of thousands die from alcoholic liver disease each year in the United States—and some go downhill much faster than others. Now, scientists have found a reason for this disparity: a toxin produced by some strains of the gut bacterium Enterococcus faecalis. Working in mice, they have also identified a potential therapy, based on bacteria-destroying viruses found lurking in the sewer.

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