Scientists in Sweden have developed a new model for identifying people at increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
Researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden and Chalmers University of Technology, Swede, say the model is based on recently published research which shows that patients with type 2 diabetes have an altered gut microbiota.
The human body contains ten times more bacteria than human cells . Most of these bacteria comprise the normal gut microbiota, meaning our bodies contain a vast number of bacterial genes – collectively known as the metagenome – in addition to the genes in our own cells .
The Swedish researchers compared the metagenome of 145 women with type 2 diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance and healthy controls, and found that female type 2 diabetic patients have an altered gut microbiota.
The results also showed that healthy women have higher levels of gut bacteria known to be producers of butyrate, a fatty acid that has previously been linked to beneficial health effects.
Based on these findings, the scientists created a new model that can distinguish between female patients with type 2 diabetes and healthy, non-diabetic women via analysis of the metagenom, and has better predictive value than the standard predictive markers currently used, such as body mass index (BMI) and waist to hip ratio.
“By examining the patient’s gut microbiota, we could predict which patients are at risk of developing diabetes,” said Professor Fredrik Backhed of the Sahlgrenska Academy, one of the lead authors of the study.
“The big challenge is to find out whether the composition of the gut microbiota promotes the onset of age-related diabetes. If this is the case, this would indicate new opportunities to prevent the disease.”
The study findings were published in the May 29 issue of the journal Nature.

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