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Gut bacteria may influence Type 1 diabetes

By Tim Sandle     Mar 19, 2014 in Science
Gut bacteria in children, with typical diabetes auto-antibodies, differ from those in healthy children. These differences exist before antibodies are detectable in the blood.
Type 1 diabetes is often referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes. It is also sometimes known as juvenile diabetes or early-onset diabetes because it often develops before the age of 40, usually during the teenage years.
In Type 1 diabetes the beta cells in the pancreas stop making insulin (simply the pancreas — a small gland behind the stomach — does not produce any insulin). The illness and symptoms develop quickly (over days or weeks) because the level of insulin in the bloodstream becomes very low. Type 1 diabetes used to be known as juvenile, early-onset, or insulin-dependent diabetes. It usually first develops in children or in young adults. Type 1 diabetes is treated with insulin injections and diet.
With the research, scientists compared the composition and interaction of the gut bacteria in children who went on to develop diabetes-specific auto-antibodies in their blood with data from children who were auto-antibody negative.
The scientists found that the bacterial interaction networks in the gut varied significantly in the two groups — even in the first years of life, months or years before one group developed the typical diabetes auto-antibodies. This finding adds to evidence that microbial DNA may be involved in the development of autoimmune processes.
The research team hope that this new insight will help with tackling autoimmune responses at an early age.
The study was carried out by scientists from Helmholtz Zentrum München. The study has been published in the journal Diabetes, in a study titled “Compromised gut microbiota networks in children with anti-islet cell autoimmunity, Diabetes.”
More about Bacteria, Gut, Microbiota, Diabetes, Type 1 diabetes
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