Bacteria may cause Type 2 diabetes
Findings suggest anti-bacterial therapy or vaccines may be able to prevent or treat Type 2 diabetes
Bacteria and viruses have an obvious role in causing infectious diseases, but microbes have also been identified as the surprising cause of other illnesses, including cervical cancer (Human papilloma virus) and stomach ulcers (H. pylori bacteria).
A new study by University of Iowa microbiologists now suggests that bacteria may even be a cause of one of the most prevalent diseases of our time: Type 2 diabetes.
The research team led by Patrick Schlievert, professor and department executive officer of microbiology at the UI Carver College of Medicine, found that prolonged exposure to a toxin produced by Staphylococcus aureus (staph) bacteria causes rabbits to develop the hallmark symptoms of Type 2 diabetes, including insulin resistance, glucose intolerance, and systemic inflammation.
“We basically reproduced Type 2 diabetes in rabbits simply through chronic exposure to the staph superantigen,” Schlievert says.
The UI findings suggest that therapies aimed at eliminating staph bacteria or neutralizing the superantigens might have potential for preventing or treating Type 2 diabetes.
Obesity is a known risk factor for developing Type 2 diabetes, but obesity also alters a person’s microbiome—the ecosystem of bacteria that colonize our bodies and affect our health.
“What we are finding is that as people gain weight, they are increasingly likely to be colonized by staph bacteria—to have large numbers of these bacteria living on the surface of their skin,” Schlievert say Continue reading