Background: Recent evidence suggests that there is a link between metabolic diseases and bacterial populations in the gut. The aim of this study was to assess the differences between the composition of the intestinal microbiota in humans with type 2 diabetes and non-diabetic persons as control.
Methods and findings: The study included 36 male adults with a broad range of age and body-mass indices (BMIs), among which 18 subjects were diagnosed with diabetes type 2. The fecal bacterial composition was investigated by real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) and in a subgroup of subjects (N = 20) by tag-encoded amplicon pyrosequencing of the V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene. The proportions of phylum Firmicutes and class Clostridia were significantly reduced in the diabetic group compared to the control group (P = 0.03). Furthermore, the ratios of Bacteroidetes to Firmicutes as well as the ratios of Bacteroides-Prevotella group to C. coccoides-E. rectale group correlated positively and significantly with plasma glucose concentration (P = 0.04) but not with BMIs. Similarly, class Betaproteobacteria was highly enriched in diabetic compared to non-diabetic persons (P = 0.02) and positively correlated with plasma glucose (P = 0.04).
Conclusions: The results of this study indicate that type 2 diabetes in humans is associated with compositional changes in intestinal microbiota. The level of glucose tolerance should be considered when linking microbiota with metabolic diseases such as obesity and developing strategies to control metabolic diseases by modifying the gut microbiota.