In a recent study, researchers from University of Queensland shows that understanding the link between diabetes and the gut may help develop new treatment to delay the onset of type 1 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is caused by an immune attack on the pancreas. Previously, researchers have thought there is link between gut bacteria and disease progression.
However, the direct relationship between pancreas function and gut bacteria hasn’t been shown until now.
In the study, the team studied the stool samples of participants. Some participants had type 1 diabetes and some were healthy.
The researchers analyzed the people’s gut- and pancreas-derived host and microbial proteins.
They found that changes in gut bacteria weren’t just a side effect of the disease, but may related to disease progression.
The researchers suggest that patients with type 1 diabetes have increased intestinal inflammation and decreased barrier function.
Moreover, pancreatic exocrine dysfunction occurs in type 1 diabetes and this dysfunction is present in high-risk individuals even before disease starts.
This means a change in microorganisms in the gut could help predict and monitor the progression of the disease.
In the near future, the team will conduct a study to monitor patients before and after diabetes diagnosis to confirm whether the proteins they identified could predict disease progression.
They hope the unique type 1 diabetes–linked signature in stool may be useful as a method to monitor diabetes disease progression and can help develop therapies that aim to restore a healthy gut microbiota.
UQ Diamantina Institute Senior Research Fellow Dr. Emma Hamilton-Williams is one study researcher.
The study is published in Diabetes Care.
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Source: Diabetes Care.