Children with type 1 diabetes may have a less desirable gut bacteria composition

Children with type 1 diabetes have a less desirable gut microbiome composition which may play a role in the development of the disease, according to new research published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Type 1 diabetes most often occurs in children and adolescents and is a disease in which a person’s pancreas produces little or no insulin. The prevalence of type 1 diabetes in children is related not only to genetic predisposition, but also to environmental factors such as gut health and gut-microbiota composition. The gut microbiome is a community of bacteria within the gastrointestinal tract that have a major influence on metabolism, body weight, the development of disease and the immune system.

“We found a particular gut microbiota composition that is associated with poorer blood sugar measures in a group of children and adolescents with newly-diagnosed type 1 diabetes,” said the study’s corresponding author, Giuseppe d’Annunzio, M.D., of the Istituto Giannina Gaslini in Genoa, Italy. “We used a form of artificial intelligence called machine learning to do a more thorough and robust genetic analysis.”

The researchers studied the microbiomes of 31 children with type 1 diabetes and 25 children who did not have diabetes. They used machine learning analysis and genetic analysis and found patients with type 1 diabetes had a significantly higher amount of gut bacteria linked to the onset of diabetes.

“Gut microbiota composition deserves attention as a new topic of research in the development of several diseases,” d’Annunzio said.