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Gut Microbiome

Examining Gut Microbiome Differences

The composition of gut bacteria – both good and bad – differs in everyone. Each person has their own makeup dependent upon diet, environment, geographical location, and other factors. In an effort to better understand potential risk factors for type 1 diabetes, researchers are taking a closer look at the role gut microbiomes may play.

The way that the body responds to various bacteria may influence autoimmune responses such as the one that triggers the destruction of insulin-producing beta cells and leads to the development of type 1 diabetes (T1D). According to researchers, “gut microbiota functions like an endocrine organ.” This organ-like structure is one that scientists still have a lot to learn about.

A recent study compared the gut microbiomes of 31 children who had recently been diagnosed with T1D and 25 healthy controls without the disease. None of the participants had gastrointestinal issues or had taken probiotics or antibiotics within one month prior to the study. A brief medical history was taken in addition to measuring C peptide levels. The control group provided fecal samples as well.

Data were analyzed using the MicrobiomeAnalyst tool in combination with two machine learning algorithms. The results showed that the children who had been recently diagnosed with T1D had “significantly higher relative abundance” of seven key taxa compared to the healthy children. In addition, the relative abundance of 5 other taxa was notably lower than in the control group. There was also a negative correlation between multiple taxa and the presence of anti-insulin autoantibodies.

Overall, the researchers determined that “our data showed that controls had higher alpha diversity than children with T1D.” However, it is important to note that they also concluded that “it is currently not possible to clearly state if gut microbiota diversity represents a cause or a consequence of autoimmunity in patients with T1D.” More research is necessary to determine if controlling or altering gut microbiota may be an effective method of preventing or treating T1D.

Studies like these are essential for building a stronger understanding of how T1D may develop, as well as how it impacts the body. Prevention is an area of interest that continues to grow and where more funding is needed. Though not involved with this study, the Diabetes Research Connection (DRC) provides critical funding to a wide range of projects led by early-career scientists, including those focused on prevention. It will continue to allocate donations to this area as well as others related to the treatment, management, and cure of type 1 diabetes. Learn more about current projects and how to support these efforts by visiting https://diabetesresearchconnection.org.

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Role of the integrated stress response in type 1 diabetes pathogenesis
In individuals with type 1 diabetes (T1D), the insulin-producing beta cells are spontaneously destroyed by their own immune system. The trigger that provokes the immune system to destroy the beta cells is unknown. However, accumulating evidence suggest that signals are perhaps first sent out by the stressed beta cells that eventually attracts the immune cells. Stressed cells adapt different stress mitigation systems as an adaptive response. However, when these adaptive responses go awry, it results in cell death. One of the stress response mechanisms, namely the integrated stress response (ISR) is activated under a variety of stressful stimuli to promote cell survival. However, when ISR is chronically activated, it can be damaging to the cells and can lead to cell death. The role of the ISR in the context of T1D is unknown. Therefore, in this DRC funded study, we propose to study the ISR in the beta cells to determine its role in propagating T1D.
Wearable Skin Fluorescence Imaging Patch for the Detection of Blood Glucose Level on an Engineered Skin Platform
A Potential Second Cure for T1D by Re-Educating the Patient’s Immune System
L Ferreira
Validating the Hypothesis to Cure T1D by Eliminating the Rejection of Cells From Another Person by Farming Beta Cells From a Patient’s Own Stem Cells
Han Zhu
Taming a Particularly Lethal Category of Cells May Reduce/Eliminate the Onset of T1D
JRDwyer 2022 Lab 1
Can the Inhibition of One Specific Body Gene Prevent Type 1 Diabetes?
Is Cholesterol Exacerbating T1D by Reducing the Functionality and Regeneration Ability of Residual Beta Cells?
Regeneration Ability of Residual Beta Cells
A Call to Question… Is T1D Caused by Dysfunctionality of Two Pancreatic Cells (β and α)?
Xin Tong
Novel therapy initiative with potential path to preventing T1D by targeting TWO components of T1D development (autoimmune response and beta-cell survival)
flavia pecanha