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Gut microbiota, probiotics and diabetes

Aline Corado Gomes1, Allain Amador Bueno2, Rávila Graziany Machado de Souza1 and João Felipe Mota1*

Author Affiliations

1 Laboratório de Investigação em Nutrição Clínica e Esportiva (Labince). Faculdade de Nutrição, Universidade Federal de Goiás, Rua 227 Qd. 68s/nº - Setor Leste Universitário, Goiânia, Goiás, Brazil

2 Institute of Science and the Environment, University of Worcester, Henwick Grove, Worcester WR2 6AJ, UK

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Nutrition Journal 2014, 13:60  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-13-60

Published: 17 June 2014


Diabetes is a condition of multifactorial origin, involving several molecular mechanisms related to the intestinal microbiota for its development. In type 2 diabetes, receptor activation and recognition by microorganisms from the intestinal lumen may trigger inflammatory responses, inducing the phosphorylation of serine residues in insulin receptor substrate-1, reducing insulin sensitivity. In type 1 diabetes, the lowered expression of adhesion proteins within the intestinal epithelium favours a greater immune response that may result in destruction of pancreatic β cells by CD8+ T-lymphocytes, and increased expression of interleukin-17, related to autoimmunity. Research in animal models and humans has hypothesized whether the administration of probiotics may improve the prognosis of diabetes through modulation of gut microbiota. We have shown in this review that a large body of evidence suggests probiotics reduce the inflammatory response and oxidative stress, as well as increase the expression of adhesion proteins within the intestinal epithelium, reducing intestinal permeability. Such effects increase insulin sensitivity and reduce autoimmune response. However, further investigations are required to clarify whether the administration of probiotics can be efficiently used for the prevention and management of diabetes.

Probiotics; Diabetes mellitus; Gut microbiota; Inflammation; Insulin resistance