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We read with interest the recent review by Tilg et al,1 which summarised the role of microbiota in liver diseases and pointed out that a causal link with systemic inflammation has still not been established. This letter fills in this gap and provides an analysis of the circulating microbiota in portal vein as the link between gut and liver. The access to portal circulation is possible during the implantation of a transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS). Therefore, we characterised the circulating microbiome in portal vein (first venous outflow in gut–liver axis), liver outflow, central venous blood and peripheral venous blood from seven patients with decompensated liver cirrhosis receiving TIPS for either variceal bleeding (n=3) or refractory ascites (n=4) (mean Model for End-stage Liver Disease (MELD) 8.4 (range 6–13), Child-Pugh-Score (CHILD) A: n=4, CHILD B: n=3) (figure 1A). We performed 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene sequencing of buffy coat samples and identified 65 genera belonging to four phyla (predominantly Proteobacteria) in this cohort (online supplementary figure 1 and figure 1B). Blood microbiome phylum compositions identified in …
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