Living with Type 1 diabetes means constantly being aware of what food is eaten and how it is broken down by the body. Since the pancreas produces little to no insulin on its own to support the management of blood sugar, this must be controlled through diet, exercise, and insulin injections. Researchers have long thought that the digestive tract and gut may play a role in Type 1 diabetes, but were unclear exactly how.
A recent study conducted by the Diabetes Research Institute at San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, Italy, sheds some light on this hypothesis. Researchers examined the gastrointestinal tract of 54 people through endoscopies and biopsies of the first part of the small intestine. The tissue samples revealed valuable results.
According to Lorezno Piemonti, MD, senior author on the study, “Our findings indicate the individuals with Type 1 diabetes have an inflammatory signature and microbiome that differ from what we see in people who do not have diabetes or even in those with other autoimmune disorders such as celiac disease.” Not only was there more inflammation of the mucous membrane in those with diabetes, but their gut bacteria also differed from those without diabetes or those with celiac disease.
As researchers take a closer look at the tissue samples, it stimulates further questions regarding the role of the gut on diabetes. Scientists are unsure whether the findings in the gut are “caused by or the result of the body’s own attacks on the pancreas,” says Piemonti. More in-depth research into the gastrointestinal tract and gut bacteria could lead to more targeted treatment for individuals with diabetes.
It is innovative research like this that Diabetes Research Connection is passionate about supporting. Scientists can receive funding for studies related to the prevention, treatment, or cure of Type 1 diabetes through the support of individuals and organizations that contribute to Diabetes Research Connection. Advancing research plays an instrumental role in changing the lives of those affected by Type 1 diabetes and every dollar counts. Visit us online to learn more.