The Microbiota and Diabetes Susceptibility

Sow and piglets
Non-viable probiotics can increase the growth and health of piglets.
This week on BBS: Non-viable probiotics increase pig growth just like live ones, diet acidity influences Type 1 Diabetes development in mice, and children with Type 1 Diabetes have changes in their intestinal microbiota.

Non-viable Probiotics Increase Piglet Growth

Experimental evidence exists for the use of live probiotic supplementation to improve the growth and immune response of pigs. To determine if the same results could be achieved with non-viable probiotics, Shin Sukegawa of the Nippon Meat Packers Research and Development Center performed similar experiments with heat-killed Enterococcus faecium NHRD IHARA. Weaned piglets that were supplemented with the heat-killed probiotics had significant improvements in growth, antibody responses and small intestinal health. Non-viable bacteria have the advantage of being easier to store for long periods, and their use could help shift the current dependence on antibiotics in meat animals.

Water Acidity Influences Diabetes Susceptibility in Mice

There is some evidence that early exposure to diets with a high acidity influences an infants chance to develop Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). To find out more, Kyle J. Wolf of the University of Alabama at Birmingham gave diabetes-susceptible mice acid water and monitored their diabetes development and immune parameters. Compared to mice given neutral water, the acid water mice had an increased incidence of diabetes, changes in the microbiota (including high Bacteroides populations), and lost diabetes-protective immune responses. This suggests that early dietary exposure to acid foods may help modulate diabetes susceptibility.

Human Microbiota and Diabetes

Intestinal microbiota may be changed in children afflicted with T1D. Maria Esther Mejia-Leon of the Mexidan Centro de Investigacion en Alimentacion y Desarrollo examined the microbiota of children with T1D and controls. She found that newly diagnosed children had high levels of bacteria from the genus Bacteroides, which wasn’t found in the controls. Children treated for their T1D had microbiota similar to that of healthy children. Whether microbiota changes are responsible for initiating T1D remains to be investigated.