Longevity Briefs: Intestinal Microbiota plays causal role in Type 2 Diabetes

Posted on 17 September 2020

Longevity briefs provides a short summary of a novel research, medicine, or technology that caught the attention of our researchers in Oxford, due to its potential to improve our health, wellbeing, and longevity.

Why is this research important: In 2016, diabetes was the 7th leading cause of death in the World, with the WHO dubbing it a chronic worldwide disease. The CDC report that currently there are 34 millions people living with diabetes in the US, with 88 millions believed to be pre-diabetic (this is a third of the adult population). Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90-95% of these cases. There is growing evidence that the intestinal microbiota play a major role in the pathology of type 2 diabetes.

What did the researchers do: Researchers based at the Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, in China, investigated the effect of transplanting healthy or obese-type 2 diabetes intestinal microbiota to rats which are genetically engineered to develop obesity without diabetes. This allowed the team to examine the possible mechanics of type 2 diabetes induced by the intestinal microbiota.

Key takeaway(s) from this research: The study showed that although the intestinal microbiota is not the most critical factor in the progression of type 2 diabetes in mice it plays a very important role, and in disease-susceptible individuals, it can be the catalyst of disease advancement. The researchers conclude that altering the microbiota via either a change in diet or by fecal transplantation has the potential to delay and reverse the development of diabetes.

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