The gut microbiome is suggested to play a role in the pathogenesis of autoimmune disorders such as type 1 diabetes. Evidence of anti-islet cell autoimmunity in type 1 diabetes appears in the first years of life; however, little is known regarding the establishment of the gut microbiome in early infancy. Here, we sought to determine whether differences were present in early composition of the gut microbiome in children in whom anti-islet cell autoimmunity developed. We investigated the microbiome of 298 stool samples prospectively taken up to age 3 years from 22 case children in whom anti-islet cell autoantibodies developed, and 22 matched control children who remained islet cell autoantibody-negative in follow-up. The microbiome changed markedly during the first year of life, and was further affected by breast-feeding, food introduction, and birth delivery mode. No differences between anti-islet cell autoantibody-positive and -negative children were found in bacterial diversity, microbial composition, or single-genus abundances. However, substantial alterations in microbial interaction networks were observed at age 0.5 and 2 years in the children in whom anti-islet cell autoantibodies developed. The findings underscore a role of the microbiome in the pathogenesis of anti-islet cell autoimmunity and type 1 diabetes.
© 2014 by the American Diabetes Association.