Lactobacillus johnsonii N6.2 mitigates the development of type 1 diabetes in BB-DP rats

PLoS One. 2010 May 6;5(5):e10507. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0010507.


Background: The intestinal epithelium is a barrier that composes one of the most immunologically active surfaces of the body due to constant exposure to microorganisms as well as an infinite diversity of food antigens. Disruption of intestinal barrier function and aberrant mucosal immune activation have been implicated in a variety of diseases within and outside of the gastrointestinal tract. With this model in mind, recent studies have shown a link between diet, composition of intestinal microbiota, and type 1 diabetes pathogenesis. In the BioBreeding rat model of type 1 diabetes, comparison of the intestinal microbial composition of diabetes prone and diabetes resistant animals found Lactobacillus species were negatively correlated with type 1 diabetes development. Two species, Lactobacillus johnsonii and L. reuteri, were isolated from diabetes resistant rats. In this study diabetes prone rats were administered pure cultures of L. johnsonii or L. reuteri isolated from diabetes resistant rats to determine the effect on type 1 diabetes development.

Methodology/principal: Findings Results Rats administered L. johnsonii, but not L. reuteri, post-weaning developed type 1 diabetes at a protracted rate. Analysis of the intestinal ileum showed administration of L. johnsonii induced changes in the native microbiota, host mucosal proteins, and host oxidative stress response. A decreased oxidative intestinal environment was evidenced by decreased expression of several oxidative response proteins in the intestinal mucosa (Gpx1, GR, Cat). In L. johnsonii fed animals low levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokine IFNgamma were correlated with low levels of iNOS and high levels of Cox2. The administration of L. johnsonii also resulted in higher levels of the tight junction protein claudin.

Conclusions: It was determined that the administration of L. johnsonii isolated from BioBreeding diabetes resistant rats delays or inhibits the onset of type 1 diabetes in BioBreeding diabetes prone rats. Taken collectively, these data suggest that the gut and the gut microbiota are potential agents of influence in type 1 diabetes development. These data also support therapeutic efforts that seek to modify gut microbiota as a means to modulate development of this disorder.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytokines / genetics
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / microbiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / pathology*
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / pathology
  • Incidence
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Lactobacillus / physiology*
  • Male
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Metagenome
  • Oxidative Stress / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred BB
  • Tight Junctions / metabolism
  • Weaning


  • Cytokines
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Membrane Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger