Altered Gut Microbiota in Type 2 Diabetes: Just a Coincidence?

Curr Diab Rep. 2018 Sep 13;18(10):98. doi: 10.1007/s11892-018-1057-6.


Purpose of review: In the last decade many studies have suggested an association between the altered gut microbiota and multiple systemic diseases including diabetes. In this review, we will discuss potential pathophysiological mechanisms, the latest findings regarding the mechanisms linking gut dysbiosis and type 2 diabetes (T2D), and the results obtained with experimental modulation of microbiota.

Recent findings: In T2D, gut dysbiosis contributes to onset and maintenance of insulin resistance. Different strategies that reduce dysbiosis can improve glycemic control. Evidence in animals and humans reveals differences between the gut microbial composition in healthy individuals and those with T2D. Changes in the intestinal ecosystem could cause inflammation, alter intestinal permeability, and modulate metabolism of bile acids, short-chain fatty acids and metabolites that act synergistically on metabolic regulation systems contributing to insulin resistance. Interventions that restore equilibrium in the gut appear to have beneficial effects and improve glycemic control. Future research should examine in detail and in larger studies other possible pathophysiological mechanisms to identify specific pathways modulated by microbiota modulation and identify new potential therapeutic targets.

Keywords: Dysbiosis; Inflammation; Insulin resistance; LPS; Probiotics; SCFAs.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / microbiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / therapy
  • Fecal Microbiota Transplantation
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Metabolome