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article imageGut bacteria could prevent type 1 diabetes

By Tim Sandle     Aug 12, 2015 in Science
Through an investigation of the immune response, researchers have discovered that certain bacteria can protect against the development of type 1 diabetes.
The body’s immune system is very adept at detecting pathogens and then using antimicrobial peptides to destroy invading bacteria. The peptides are produced by a mix of different cells. By investigating the body's immune response, scientists have discovered that key bacteria can, by interacting the body's defense system, protect against the development of type 1 diabetes.
Diabetes mellitus type 1 (also known as type 1 diabetes) is an autoimmune disease where the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas are destroyed. The dangerous effect on the body is with increased blood and urine glucose. People with this condition who go untreated experience increased thirst, hunger, weight loss and the need to urinate frequently. Acute cases lead to a coma and the risk of heart diseases and kidney disease.
A collaborative research project between Inserm, Paris Descartes University and the CNRS (French National Centre for Scientific Research), has found the peptides used to combat certain bacteria also have immunoregulatory abilities against several autoimmune diseases, like type 1 diabetes.
This was found by a study in which researchers injected diabetic mice with certain peptides called cathelicidins. The mice used were first rendered deficient in the peptide. It was later discovered that cathelicidins inhibit the development of pancreatic inflammation and reduce the development of autoimmune disease in these mice.
Because cathelicidin production is controlled by short-chain fatty acids produced by gut bacteria, the researchers believe certain bacteria found in the gut are necessary for the body not to develop type 1 diabetes and perhaps the absence of certain bacteria is a reason why the disease develops in the newborn. Such a finding is in keeping with research into the human microbiome.
The research has been published in the journal Immunity, in a paper called “Pancreatic β-Cells Limit Autoimmune Diabetes via an Immunoregulatory Antimicrobial Peptide Expressed under the Influence of the Gut Microbiota.”
More about Type 1 diabetes, Gut bacteria, Bacteria, microflora, Microbiota
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