Gut Microbes May Influence Autoimmune Processes in Type 1 Diabetes

Bacteria TextureUnderstanding of the importance of the role of gut microbes has increased in recent years. Now a new study from researchers in Germany as published in the journal Diabetes has found that the interactions of the gut microbes in children with typical diabetes autoantibodies differ from the same interactions in healthy children. That such differences exist even before antibodies are detectable in the blood adds to the growing evidence that microbial DNA may play a role in the development of autoimmune processes such as type 1 diabetes.

As part of the BABYDIET study, the researchers led by Dr. Peter Achenbach and Professor Anette-Gabriele Ziegler from the Institute of Diabetes Research as well as Dr. David Endesfelder and Dr. Wolfgang zu Castell from the Scientific Computing Research Unit at the Helmholtz Zentrum München studied the gut microbes in 298 stool samples taken from 22 case children who developed anti-islet cell autoantibodies up until the age of 3. The researchers then matched the case children with 22 control children who remained islet autoantibody negative.

The BABYDIET study examines nutritional factors that may influence the risk of diabetes.

Explain the researchers:

“Evidence of anti-islet cell autoimmunity in type 1 diabetes appears in the first years of life, however little is known regarding establishment of the gut microbiome in early infancy. We sought to determine whether differences were present in early composition of the gut microbiome in children who developed anti-islet cell autoimmunity.”

According to the study, the diversity and number of bacteria present in the gut were similar in both groups of children. However, the interactions in the gut microbes differed significantly between the two groups, even in the first years of life, months, or years before the case children developed the typical diabetes autoantibodies.

Previous research has indicated that gut microbes may play a role in the pathogenesis of metabolic diseases such as diabetes. The results of the present study indicate that not only the composition of the microbes in the guy but also the way in which the microbes interaction could affect the immune system and the development disorders like type 1 diabetes.

Concludes Prof. Ziegler:

“A range of external factors such as diet, hygiene or even the birth delivery mode can influence both the composition of gut bacteria and the way in which the bacteria interact. If we are able to identify those parameters that tend to indicate more negative microbiome characteristics, we can develop new approaches to preventing autoimmune processes – for example, in type 1 diabetes.”

The present findings could help in the prevention of metabolic disorders such as type 1 diabetes.


Compromised gut microbiota networks in children with anti-islet cell autoimmunity:
Gut microbiota networks may influence autoimmune processes in type 1 diabetes:
Gut microbiota ‘networks’ may play a role in autoimmunity and type 1 diabetes risk:

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