Lycium barbarum polysaccharide combined with aerobic exercise ameliorated nonalcoholic fatty liver disease through restoring gut microbiota, intestinal barrier and inhibiting hepatic inflammation.
Int J Biol Macromol. 2021 May 13 ;183:1379-1392. Epub 2021 May 13. PMID: 33992651
Gut microbiota and intestinal permeability have been demonstrated to be the key players in the gut-liver cross talk in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Lycium barbarum polysaccharides (LBPs), which seem to be a potential prebiotic, and aerobic exercise (AE) have shown protective effects on NAFLD. However, their combined effects on intestinal microecology remain unclear. This study evaluated the effects of LBP, AE, and its combination (LBP + AE) on gut microbiota composition, intestinal barrier, and hepatic inflammation in NAFLD. LBP + AE showed high abundance and diversity of gut microbiota, restored the gut microbiota composition, increased some Bacteroidetes, short chain fatty acids, but decreased Proteobacteria and the ratio of Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes. Simultaneously, LBP, AE, and LBP + AE could restore the colonic and ileum tight junctions by increasing the expression of zonula occludens-1 and occludin. They also downregulated gut-derived lipopolysaccharides (LPSs), hepatic LPS-binding proteins, inflammatory factors, and related indicators of the LPS/TLR4/NF-κB signaling pathway for the liver. Our results implied that LBP could be considered a prebiotic agent, and LBP + AE might be a promising treatment for NAFLD because it could maintain gut microbiota balance, thereby restoring intestinal barrier and exerting hepatic benefits.