Gut microbiome alterations linked to type 2 diabetes, study reveals

Published: 9-Jul-2024

Specific changes in the activity and composition of the gut microbiome have been linked to an increased risk of type-2 diabetes

Novel research has suggested that certain changes in the composition of the gut microbiome can be associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D). 

The study, conducted by the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Broad Institute of MIT & Harvard Brigham and Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, was published in Nature Medicine, and could offer novel targets for both therapeutics and nutraceutical solutions. 


The study

The investigation extracted and analysed data from the Microbiome and Cardiometabolic Disease Consortium, and included a total of 8,117 gut microbiome metagenomes from a diverse range of participants from a variety of ethnicities and geographic locations. 

Those included all had some diabetic symptoms, with most exhibiting type-2 diabetes, pre diabetes or no alterations in blood sugar levels. 

"The gut microbiome is highly variable across different geographic locations and racial and ethnic groups. If you only study a small, homogeneous population, you will probably miss something," said co-corresponding author Daniel Wang of the Channing Division of Network Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Broad and Harvard Chan School. "Our study is by far the largest and most diverse study of its kind."


The results 

Researchers found that Prevotella copri, a common gut bacteria, is more prevalent in the microbiomes of those with diabetes.

As well as this, it appears that those with diabetes are more likely to have a stronger presence of bacteriophages (viruses that infect bacteria), suggesting that these pathogens could have some role to play in the microbiome changes linked to increased T2D risk.

Wang added: ”Our findings related to bacteriophages were very surprising. This could mean that the virus infects the bacteria and changes its function in a way that increases or decreases type 2 diabetes risk, but more work is needed to understand this connection.”

“If these microbial features are causal, we can find a way to change the microbiome and reduce type 2 diabetes risk,” he added. “The microbiome is amenable to intervention—meaning you can change your microbiome, for example, with dietary changes, probiotics, or fecal transplants.” He concluded. 


You may also like