Aims/hypothesis: Recent studies indicate that an aberrant gut microbiota is associated with the development of type 1 diabetes, yet little is known about the microbiota in children who have diabetes at an early age. To this end, the microbiota of children aged 1-5 years with new-onset type 1 diabetes was compared with the microbiota of age-matched healthy controls.
Methods: A deep global analysis of the gut microbiota composition was established by phylogenetic microarray analysis using a Human Intestinal Tract Chip (HITChip).
Results: Principal component analyses highlighted the importance of age when comparing age-matched pairs. In pairs younger than 2.9 years, the combined abundance of the class Bacilli (notably streptococci) and the phylum Bacteroidetes was higher in diabetic children, whereas the combined abundance of members of Clostridium clusters IV and XIVa was higher in the healthy controls. Controls older than 2.9 years were characterised by a higher fraction of butyrate-producing species within Clostridium clusters IV and XIVa than was seen in the corresponding diabetic children or in children from the younger age groups, while the diabetic children older than 2.9 years could be differentiated by having an increased microbial diversity.
Conclusions/interpretation: The results from both age groups suggest that non-diabetic children have a more balanced microbiota in which butyrate-producing species appear to hold a pivotal position.