A breakthrough research on intestinal bacteria has revealed that the normal micro flora can prevent diabetes in those who are prone to it. The discovery was achieved by professors at the Universities of Bern and Toronto.
Intestinal Bacteria and Their Function
The normal micro flora of our intestines is known to perform many functions other than aiding digestion and assimilation of the food particles. Normal levels of these bacteria are required in our body to aid the biochemical reactions taking place in our body. They are also useful in keeping the infectious bacteria such as Salmonella at bay. However, if this number gets skewed, then the bacteria turn pathogenic and cause inflammation and damage to our body in the form of diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. The imbalance is also known to affect the liver tissue.
Study on NOD Mice
Dr. Jayne Danska, the lead author of the study has shown that these normal intestinal bacteria are capable of producing chemicals that prevent damage the pancreatic cells in young people and children. Many times our immune cells damage the cells and tissues in our pancreas, causing diabetes. To prove this, he and his colleagues have worked on the laboratory mice of the NOD (Non Obese Diabetic) type. When these mice were subjected to the study, it was found that particularly in the male mice, the intestinal bacteria get activated and they trigger off a cascade of biochemical reactions that induce hormone production. These hormones are specially targeted at diabetes development molecules and they stop the process.
Results and Conclusions of the Study
This activity is seen in children and young people who are genetically prone to type 1 diabetes. By isolating these intestinal bacteria from such susceptible groups, and also understanding the exact process of prevention of diabetes in them, scientists can now develop a novel method to prevent diabetes among millions of people worldwide. In Andrew Macpherson’s own words, “We now hope to new therapies that can prevent the onset of disease and protect children from the scheduled of diabetes.”