Gut reaction linked to type 1 diabetes

Understanding the link between diabetes and the gut could lead to the development of new therapies to delay the onset of type 1 diabetes, according to University of Queensland researchers.

UQ Diamantina Institute Senior Research Fellow Dr. Emma Hamilton-Williams said a change in microorganisms in the gut could help predict and monitor the progression of the disease.

“Type 1 diabetes is caused by an immune attack on the pancreas,” she said.

“While there has been a suspected link between gut bacteria and disease progression, a direct relationship between pancreas function and gut bacteria hasn’t been shown until now.

“By studying the stool samples of participants, we found that changes in gut bacteria weren’t just a side effect of the disease, but are likely related to disease progression.

“Seeing the same characteristics in recently diagnosed patients and undiagnosed high-risk relatives means these proteins may be used to predict a future diabetes diagnosis.”

“Understanding what pathways lead patients to develop type 1 diabetes is key to developing new treatment strategies and accurately measuring the success of clinical trials.

“We would like to conduct a study where we monitor subjects before and after diagnosis to confirm whether the proteins we indentified predict disease progression.

“The team is now involved in clinically trialling a specialised dietary supplement to target the gut microbiota in patients with type 1 diabetes.

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