Type 1 diabetes prevented by bacteria: Study

Type 1 diabetes prevented by bacteriaUnlike the more common Type 2, Type 1 diabetes does not develop from lifestyle factors. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition where the immune response attacks the pancreas causing little to no insulin production.

Research now suggests there are bacteria that may prevent Type 1 diabetes, this according to researchers from Inserm, Paris Descartes University and the CNRS (French National Centre for Scientific Research).


Bacteria known as pathogens are what cause illness and disease. The immune system combats pathogens through detect, defend and destroy mechanisms. This includes antimicrobial peptides and natural proteins that destroy pathogenic bacteria by disrupting their cellular membrane.

The research team focused on a category of antimicrobial peptides (cathelicidins). These peptides not only protect, but they also exhibit immune-regulatory abilities against several autoimmune diseases. Scientists hypothesize that cathelicidins may play a role in the control of Type 1 diabetes.

Researchers observed beta pancreatic cells in non-diseased mice produce cathelicidins, which is impaired in diabetic mice.

Researchers then injected diabetic mice with cathelicidins where the production was impaired. “Injecting cathelicidins inhibits the development of pancreatic inflammation and, as such, suppresses the development of autoimmune disease in these mice,” said team coordinator, Julien Diana.

Production of cathelicidins is controlled by short-chain fatty acids produced by the gut. Observed in diabetic mice, they have lower levels of short-chain fatty acids.


“This research is further evidence of the undeniable role microbiota plays in autoimmune diseases, particularly in controlling the development of autoimmune diabetes,” authors concluded.

The findings were published in Immunity.


Author Bio

Emily Lunardo studied medical sociology at York University with a strong focus on the social determinants of health and mental illness. She is a registered Zumba instructor, as well as a Canfit Pro trainer, who teaches fitness classes on a weekly basis. Emily practices healthy habits in her own life as well as helps others with their own personal health goals. Emily joined Bel Marra Health as a health writer in 2013.