Microbiome Bites Jan 23rd 2017: FishTaco and Type 1 Diabetes

FishTaco microbiome

1. FishTaco method pinpoints bacterial species responsible for disease-causing imbalances in the microbiome

Research has shown that gut microbiome imbalances are linked to a number of diseases including, obesity, cancer, type 2 diabetes and autoimmune diseases. These observations suggest that altering the composition of the microbiome through diet, drugs or other means is a viable strategy to treat or prevent these diseases. In order to achieve this, it is necessary to know specifically which bacterial species are responsible.

In a study published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe, researchers at the University of Washington report their development of a new computational method (called FishTaco), to identify how different bacterial species contribute to diseases associated with microbiome dysbiosis. The method combines two individual approaches to ask who is there? and what are they doing?

Using the method to analyze the microbiomes of patients with type 2 diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease, the authors found that functional changes in the microbiome are often driven by diverse combinations of bacteria.  Remarkably, they found that very similar functional imbalances in the microbiome are be driven by completely different sets of bacteria.

Identifying the underlying culprits is a significant step in applying the appropriate steps to correct the microbiome imbalance.

The study is here.

2. Study ties inflammation and gut bacteria to type 1 diabetes

According to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, people with type 1 diabetes show changes in their digestive system that aren't seen in people who don't have the autoimmune disease. These changes include different gut bacteria and inflammation in the small intestine. The differences may play a role in the development of type 1 diabetes.

By using tissue samples taken from patient endoscopies, the researchers were able to directly assess changes in gut inflammation and digestive bacteria. They were also able to get high-resolution snapshots of the innermost layer of the gastrointestinal tract. Previous studies have only looked at the gut bacteria based on stool samples.

If the findings are confirmed, this information might be used to develop a new gut microbiome-focused treatment for people with a high risk of developing type 1 diabetes.

The study is here.