Few concepts in recent years have garnered more disease research attention than that of the intestinal (i.e. 'gut') microbiome. This emerging interest has included investigations of the microbiome's role in the pathogenesis of a variety of autoimmune disorders, including type 1 diabetes (T1D). Indeed, a growing number of recent studies of patients with T1D or at varying levels of risk for this disease, as well as in animal models of the disorder, lend increasing support to the notion that alterations in the microbiome precede T1D onset. Herein, we review these investigations, examining the mechanisms by which the microbiome may influence T1D development and explore how multi-disciplinary analysis of the microbiome and the host immune response may provide novel biomarkers and therapeutic options for prevention of T1D.
Keywords: autoimmunity; immunology; insulin; intestinal physiology; microbiome.
© 2014 British Society for Immunology.