Document Type


Journal Title

Frontiers in Immunology

Publication Date





Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is a chronic autoimmune disease that results from destruction of pancreatic β-cells. T1D subjects were recently shown to harbor distinct intestinal microbiome profiles. Based on these findings, the role of gut bacteria in T1D is being intensively investigated. The mechanism connecting intestinal microbial homeostasis with the development of T1D is unknown. Specific gut bacteria such as Bacteroides dorei (BD) and Ruminococcus gnavus (RG) show markedly increased abundance prior to the development of autoimmunity. One hypothesis is that these bacteria might traverse the damaged gut barrier, and their constituents elicit a response from human islets that causes metabolic abnormalities and inflammation. We have tested this hypothesis by exposing human islets to BD and RG in vitro, after which RNA-Seq analysis was performed. The bacteria altered expression of many islet genes. The commonly upregulated genes by these bacteria were cytokines, chemokines and enzymes, suggesting a significant effect of gut bacteria on islet antimicrobial and biosynthetic pathways. Additionally, each bacteria displayed a unique set of differentially expressed genes (DEGs). Ingenuity pathway analysis of DEGs revealed that top activated pathways and diseases included TREM1 signaling and inflammatory response, illustrating the ability of bacteria to induce islet inflammation. The increased levels of selected factors were confirmed using immunoblotting and ELISA methods. Our data demonstrate that islets produce a complex anti-bacterial response. The response includes both symbiotic and pathogenic aspects. Both oxidative damage and leukocyte recruitment factors were prominent, which could induce beta cell damage and subsequent autoimmunity.

MeSH Headings

Adult, Bacteroides, Clostridiales, Cytokines, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1, Gastrointestinal Microbiome, Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial, Humans, Islets of Langerhans, Middle Aged, RNA-Seq, Transcriptome, Young Adult



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.