Changes in Gut Bacteria Could Allow Better Predictions of Type 2 Diabetes Risk

Investigators have found that although the composition and function the gut microbiome changes throughout the day in most people, these variations stop in patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D).

Investigators have found that although the composition and function the gut microbiome changes throughout the day in most people, these variations stop in patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D), offering a potential new way to predict T2D risk.

The research, presented by investigators based in Freising, Germany, at the Institute for Food and Health of the Technical University of Munich, included 4000 patients and was the first study in this field based on a large prospective human cohort, according to the authors.

Multiple cohort studies have researched how changes in the gut microbiome can lead to conclusions about medical conditions, but no participants showed any signs of disease. Therefore, this population is being re-examined over time to discover whether a certain observation in their microbiome may be typical for future diagnoses of disease.

Through this style of research, investigators have found that arrhythmic bacteria may be a marker for potential disease, referred to as a risk signature.

“When certain gut bacteria do not follow a day-night rhythm—so if their number and function does not change over the course of the day—this can be an indicator for a potential type 2 diabetes disease,” said chronobiologist Silke Keissling, PhD, a contributor to the study, in a statement.

The investigators primarily analyzed data from an existing independent cohort, and the diabetes-related results were validated using other cohorts from Germany. Interestingly, they also compared the data to English cohorts, finding that there is a strong regional factor affecting the microbial ecosystem.

These findings substantiate earlier hypotheses that changes in the microbiome have an impact on nutrition-related diseases, such as T2D. The investigators added that further research could investigate the ways in which gut bacteria affect other microbiome-associated diseases, such as Crohn disease or intestinal cancer.

REFERENCE

Gut bacteria improve type 2 diabetes risk prediction [news release]. Technical University of Munich; July 6, 2020. https://www.tum.de/nc/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36118/. Accessed July 15, 2020.