(HealthDay News) – Gut bacteria from individuals with and without diabetes differ substantially and can be used to accurately discriminate between those with and without the disease, according to a study published online Sept 26 in Nature.

Junjie Qin, PhD, from BGI-Shenzhen in China, and colleagues performed a metagenome-wide association study on gut microbial DNA from 345 Chinese patients with type 2 diabetes and controls without diabetes. The results were validated in an independent set of 200 Chinese individuals.

The researchers found that gut bacteria from individuals without diabetes were enriched in various butyrate-producing bacteria and markers for cell motility and metabolism of cofactors and vitamins. In contrast, gut bacteria from individuals with diabetes were enriched in opportunistic pathogens and proteins involved in processes including sulfate reduction, oxidative stress resistance, and drug resistance. Gut bacteria from individuals with diabetes also had reduced cell motility, butyrate biosynthesis, and metabolism of cofactors and vitamins. Based on 50 gene markers, the authors developed a type 2 diabetes classifier that could accurately discriminate between 23 patients with and without diabetes.

“The present study highlights how the gut microbial composition, traditionally considered to be factors of environmental origin, differs between type 2 diabetes patients and non-diabetic control subjects in a Chinese population,” Qin and colleagues conclude.

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