Hostile Gut Bacteria Linked To Type 2 Diabetes

New research shows that the composition of a person’s gut bacteria could play an important role in the development of type 2 diabetes.

AsianScientist (Oct. 2, 2012) – New research published in the journal Nature is indicating a possible connection between type 2 diabetes and the bacteria in our gut.

“We have demonstrated that people with type 2 diabetes have a high level of pathogens in their intestines,” said Jun Wang, Executive Director of BGI.

The number of people suffering from type 2 diabetes world-wide has risen rapidly in recent years, and scientists estimate that just as many people could be suffering from the illness without realizing it.

The 1.5 kilograms of bacteria that we each carry in our intestines have an enormous impact on our health and well-being. The bacteria normally live in a sensitive equilibrium but if this equilibrium is disrupted our health could suffer.

In the collaborative project undertaken by the University of Copenhagen in Denmark and the Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) in China, researchers conducted a metagenome-wide association study (MGWAS) of the intestinal bacteria of 345 people from China, 171 of whom have type 2 diabetes.

Using deep shotgun sequencing of gut microbial DNA, the team identified and validated approximately 60,000 type 2 diabetes-associated markers associated with different species of gut bacteria.

“It is important to point out that our discovery demonstrates a correlation. The big question now is whether the changes in gut bacteria can affect the development of type 2 diabetes or whether the changes simply reflect that the person is suffering from type 2 diabetes,” said Professor Karsten Kristiansen from the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Biology.

Similar studies carried out on sufferers of type 2 diabetes in Denmark also discovered a significant imbalance in the function of their intestinal bacteria and composition.

Future Danish studies will examine whether intestinal bacteria is already abnormal in people that are deemed to be at risk of developing diabetes.

“We are going to transplant gut bacteria from people that suffer from type 2 diabetes into mice and examine whether the mice then develop diabetes,” said Professor Oluf Borbye Pedersen from the University of Copenhagen.

The article can be found at: Qin J et al. (2012) A metagenome-wide association study of gut microbiota in type 2 diabetes.


Source: University of Copenhagen.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

Asian Scientist Magazine is an award-winning science and technology magazine that highlights R&D news stories from Asia to a global audience. The magazine is published by Singapore-headquartered Wildtype Media Group.

Related Stories from Asian Scientist