Some Oral Bacteria Reduce Risk of Diabetes

10 Mar 2017
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An abundance of Actinobacteria such as Actinomyces israelii has been associated with a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes. An abundance of Actinobacteria such as Actinomyces israelii has been associated with a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes. Photo by Graham Beards.

As researchers continue to plumb the links between the oral microbiome and systemic illnesses like diabetes, some bacteria has been shown to have positive effects. For example, Vanderbilt University recently compared the oral microbiome profiles of participants in the Southern Community Cohort Study: 98 people diagnosed with diabetes after enrolling in the study, 99 obese nondiabetic people, and 97 nondiabetics of normal weight.

The researchers analyzed the bacterial species present in biological samples collected at enrollment (before diabetes diagnosis) and associated a higher abundance of Actinobacteria type microbes with a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes. In particular, Actinomyces and Atopobium were associated with 66% and 72% decreased risk, respectively. Actinobacteria also were less abundant in obese nondiabetic subjects, compared to those of normal weight.

 The researchers concluded that the oral microbiome plays a role in diabetes and that targeting these bacteria may offer opportunities for treating the disease. The study, “Association of Oral Microbiome With Type 2 Diabetes Risk,” was published by the Journal of Periodontal Research. It was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Medicine at Vanderbilt University.

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