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Type 1 diabetes linked to specific gut inflammation

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Type 1 diabetes linked to gut inflammation that differs from other diseases

Researchers have discovered a link between type 1 diabetes and a specific inflammation in the gut that they say differs from celiac disease or other autoimmune conditions.


The finding is important because it could lead to better ways to treat the disease that strikes at a young age.

Scientists have been trying to understand what causes the body’s immune system to attack the pancreas that produce insulin to keep blood sugar levels in check.

Researchers looked at bacteria in the gut of 54 individuals who either volunteered for the study or who were undergoing a gastrointestinal procedure.

The researchers found bacteria in the gut among people with type 1 diabetes differed from that of people with celiac disease or other autoimmune disorders.

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Senior author for the study, Lorenzo Piemonti, MD, of the Diabetes Research Institute at San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, Italy said in a press release: "Some researchers have theorized that the gut may contribute to the development of Type 1 diabetes, so it is important to understand how the disease affects the digestive system and microbiome."

Past studies have also linked type 1 diabetes to a common enterovirus in children.

The study authors note the finding was more targeted compared to testing stool samples because they were able to take a direct look at gut bacteria and the intestines.

Previous studies have also found an association between gut inflammation, fat and type 2 diabetes.

The finding, published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, suggests people with type 1 diabetes have a specific type of gut inflammation that is different from other inflammatory or autoimmune diseases.

What the researchers don’t know yet is whether the gut changes seen with type 1 diabetes are brought about by the body’s own attack on the pancreas.