Type 1 diabetes: Gut microbiota networks may influence autoimmune processes

March 12, 2014, Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres

The interactions of the gut microbiota in children with typical diabetes autoantibodies differ from that in healthy children. The fact that these differences already exist before antibodies are detectable in the blood adds to the growing evidence that microbial DNA, the so-called microbiome, may be involved in the development of autoimmune processes. Scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum München have published their findings in the specialist journal Diabetes.

As part of the BABYDIET study, the scientists compared the composition and interaction of the in children who went on to develop -specific autoantibodies in their blood with data from children who were autoantibody negative. The BABYDIET study examines the nutritional factors that may influence the risk of diabetes.

Similar bacteria – different interactions

In the course of the study, the team headed by PD 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, ascertained that the diversity and number of bacteria present in the were similar in both collectives. However, 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 autoantibodies.

Colonies of bacteria form what is known as the microbiome, and the genetic information contained within it influences the host organism. For some time, the microbiome has been associated with different diseases; the , in particular, is thought to play a role in the pathogenesis of metabolic diseases such as diabetes. The scientists' findings show that not only the microbial composition but also the way in which it interacts in functional communities could affect the body's immune system.

How is the microbiome influenced?

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

Explore further: Type 1 diabetes: Vitamin D deficiency occurs in an early stage

More information: Endesfelder, D. et al. (2014): Compromised gut microbiota networks in children with anti-islet cell autoimmunity, Diabetes, published ahead of print March 7, 2014, DOI: 10.2337/db13-1676 1939-327X

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squirt16oz
not rated yet Mar 12, 2014
I find it both amusing and interesting that modern science is learning the gut contains THE bacteria that keep us all healthy. Of course, one need only look at Nature to understand that elephants, dogs, pigeons—just about every animal—at one time is either intentionally fed or picks up feces and eats it! While this is not a common thing among Americans or many others, we are learning that the healthy gut harbors many natural bacteria that have developed over millions of years. Maybe all the medication/s we are using is literally killing our organisms!! We need to take a renewed, very critical look at what we are missing in the medical sense!!

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