The crucial role of early-life gut microbiota in the development of type 1 diabetes

Acta Diabetol. 2021 Mar;58(3):249-265. doi: 10.1007/s00592-020-01563-z. Epub 2020 Jul 25.


Early-life healthy gut microbiota has a profound implication on shaping the mucosal immune system as well as maintaining healthy status later in life, especially at the prenatal or neonatal stages, while intestinal dysbiosis in early life is associated with several autoimmune diseases, including type 1 diabetes (T1D). Since the gut microbiome is potentially modifiable, optimizing the intestinal bacterial composition in early life may be a novel option for T1D prevention. In this review, we will review current data depicting the crucial role of early-life intestinal microbiome in the development of T1D and discuss the possible mechanisms whereby early-life intestinal microbiome influences the T1D progression. We also summarize recent findings on environmental factors affecting gut microbiota colonization and interventions that may successfully alter microbial composition to discuss potential means of preventing T1D progression in at-risk children.

Keywords: Dysbiosis; Gut microbiota; Prevention; Type 1 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoimmune Diseases / etiology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / pathology
  • Child
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / etiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / immunology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / microbiology*
  • Dysbiosis / complications
  • Dysbiosis / immunology
  • Female
  • Fetus / immunology
  • Fetus / microbiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn* / immunology
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk Factors