Gut bacteria can contribute to diabetes: Study

London: Gut bacteria has the ability to affect how cells respond to insulin and can thus contribute to Type-2 diabetes, says a new study.

The study explored that the gut microbiota of people with treatment-naive Type-2 diabetes can be linked to a different metabolism of the amino acid histidine, which is mainly derived from the diet.

This in turn leads to the formation of imidazole propionate, a substance that impairs the cells’ ability to respond to insulin. Therefore, reducing the amount of bacterial-produced imidazole propionate could be a new way of treating patients with such disease.

“This substance does not cause all Type-2 diabetes, but our working hypothesis is that there are sub-populations of patients who might benefit from changing their diet or altering their gut microbiota to reduce the levels of imidazole propionate,” said Fredrik Backhed, Professor at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

For the study, published in the journal Cell, the research team involved 649 participants.

They used fecal samples and found that the microbiota of people with Type-2 diabetes produced imidazole propionate when histidine was added. However, this mechanism was not found in the diabetes-free control subjects.

“Our findings show clearly how important the interaction between gut microbiota and diet is to understand our metabolism in health and disease,” said Backhed.

The result also shows that gut bacteria from different individuals can lead to the production of completely different substances that may have very specific effects in the body,” he noted.