Microbiome Changes after Type 2 Diabetes Treatment: A Systematic Review

Medicina (Kaunas). 2021 Oct 11;57(10):1084. doi: 10.3390/medicina57101084.


Background and objectives: Although the role of the gut microbiome in type 2 diabetes (T2D) pathophysiology is evident, current systematic reviews and meta-analyses analyzing T2D treatment mainly focus on metabolic outcomes. The objective of this study is to evaluate the microbiome and metabolic changes after different types of treatment in T2D patients. Materials and Methods: A systematic search of PubMed, Wiley online library, Science Direct, and Cochrane library electronic databases was performed. Randomized controlled clinical trials published in the last five years that included T2D subjects and evaluated the composition of the gut microbiome alongside metabolic outcomes before and after conventional or alternative glucose lowering therapy were selected. Microbiome changes were evaluated alongside metabolic outcomes in terms of bacteria taxonomic hierarchy, intestinal flora biodiversity, and applied intervention. Results: A total of 16 eligible studies involving 1301 participants were reviewed. Four trials investigated oral glucose-lowering treatment, three studies implemented bariatric surgery, and the rest analyzed probiotic, prebiotic, or synbiotic effects. The most common alterations were increased abundance of Firmicutes and Proteobacteria parallel to improved glycemic control. Bariatric surgery, especially Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, led to the highest variety of changed bacteria phyla. Lower diversity post-treatment was the most significant biodiversity result, which was present with improved glycemic control. Conclusions: Anti-diabetic treatment induced the growth of depleted bacteria. A gut microbiome similar to healthy individuals was achieved during some trials. Further research must explore the most effective strategies to promote beneficial bacteria, lower diversity, and eventually reach a non-T2D microbiome.

Keywords: bariatric surgery; gut microbiome; prebiotics; probiotics; synbiotics; type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / drug therapy
  • Gastric Bypass*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Microbiota*
  • Probiotics* / therapeutic use
  • Synbiotics*