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article imageType 1 diabetes linked to different gut bacteria

By Tim Sandle     Jul 3, 2014 in Science
Groningen - Children with type 1 diabetes have a less balanced composition of gut bacteria compared with children of the same age without diabetes, according to a new study.
New research suggests that adverse changes in gut microbiota are associated with the development of type 1 diabetes. This was found from an in-depth global analysis of the gut microbe composition. This was performed using a method called the Human Intestinal Tract Chip (HITChip). This is an analytical device designed specifically for studying gut bacteria.
For the analysis, patients were recruited into two research projects -- the DIPP (Finnish Type 1 Diabetes Prediction and Prevention) study in Finland and the international VirDiab (Viruses in Diabetes) study, which included cases and control children from seven European countries. Faecal samples were collected from children newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and controls. The diabetic children were matched with control children (who did not have diabetes) according to age.
Type 1 diabetes, once known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin, a hormone needed to allow sugar (glucose) to enter cells to produce energy.
The researchers found that in children younger than three years, that there were higher numbers of certain bacteria (Streptococci and the Bacteroidetes) were higher in diabetic children, whereas more beneficial bacteria were higher in the healthy controls.
The microbiologists speculate that gut needs to have the right balance of bacteria to produce a fermentation product called butyrate. This product is absorbed by the human gut and turned into energy. Production of sufficient butyrate by bacteria in the gut leads to optimal gut function and minimises inflammation and other metabolic problems that are associated with diabetes.
The research is important because the incidence of type 1 diabetes is increasing worldwide, with a pronounced increase among children under the age of 5 years.
The study was carried out at the University Medical Center Groningen, the Netherlands. The research has been published in the journal Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes), in a paper titled “Aberrant gut microbiota composition at the onset of type 1 diabetes in young children”.
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