Fecal Microbiota Composition Differs Between Children With β-Cell Autoimmunity and Those Without

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Abstract

The role of the intestinal microbiota as a regulator of autoimmune diabetes in animal models is well-established, but data on human type 1 diabetes are tentative and based on studies including only a few study subjects. To exclude secondary effects of diabetes and HLA risk genotype on gut microbiota, we compared the intestinal microbiota composition in children with at least two diabetes-associated autoantibodies (n = 18) with autoantibody-negative children matched for age, sex, early feeding history, and HLA risk genotype using pyrosequencing. Principal component analysis indicated that a low abundance of lactate-producing and butyrate-producing species was associated with β-cell autoimmunity. In addition, a dearth of the two most dominant Bifidobacterium species, Bifidobacterium adolescentis and Bifidobacterium pseudocatenulatum, and an increased abundance of the Bacteroides genus were observed in the children with β-cell autoimmunity. We did not find increased fecal calprotectin or IgA as marker of inflammation in children with β-cell autoimmunity. Functional studies related to the observed alterations in the gut microbiome are warranted because the low abundance of bifidobacteria and butyrate-producing species could adversely affect the intestinal epithelial barrier function and inflammation, whereas the apparent importance of the Bacteroides genus in development of type 1 diabetes is insufficiently understood.

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