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Gut bacteria selectively promoted by dietary fibers alleviate type 2 diabetes

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Science  09 Mar 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6380, pp. 1151-1156
DOI: 10.1126/science.aao5774

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Microbial modulation of diabetes

Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are produced by various human gut microbes. SCFAs act as an energy source to the colonic epithelium and are also sensed by host signaling pathways that modulate appetite and inflammation. Deficiency of gut SCFAs is associated with type 2 diabetes. Zhao et al. found that adopting a high-fiber diet promoted the growth of SCFA-producing organisms in diabetic humans. The high-fiber diet induced changes in the entire gut microbe community and correlated with elevated levels of glucagon-like peptide-1, a decline in acetylated hemoglobin levels, and improved blood-glucose regulation.

Science, this issue p. 1151

Abstract

The gut microbiota benefits humans via short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) production from carbohydrate fermentation, and deficiency in SCFA production is associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). We conducted a randomized clinical study of specifically designed isoenergetic diets, together with fecal shotgun metagenomics, to show that a select group of SCFA-producing strains was promoted by dietary fibers and that most other potential producers were either diminished or unchanged in patients with T2DM. When the fiber-promoted SCFA producers were present in greater diversity and abundance, participants had better improvement in hemoglobin A1c levels, partly via increased glucagon-like peptide-1 production. Promotion of these positive responders diminished producers of metabolically detrimental compounds such as indole and hydrogen sulfide. Targeted restoration of these SCFA producers may present a novel ecological approach for managing T2DM.

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