Bacterial Exposure Can Promote Type 2 Diabetes

A recent study has demonstrated a link between bacterial exposure and the development of diabetes mellitus type 2 (DMII). This important work could lead to new treatments or even prevention through species-specific interventions.

Staphylococcus aureus is an opportunistic bacteria that lives on the skin. Colonization by S. aureus is associated with expression of a superantigen called toxic shock syndrome toxin-1 (TSST-1) which results in systemic immune activation. Importantly, there is a positive correlation between obesity and S. aureus colonization. In a recent study using a rabbit model, scientists from the University of Iowa showed that S. aureus colonization, and the resulting TSST-1 exposure, results in a loss in glucose response, increased insulin production, systemic inflammation, liver damage and increased circulating endotoxin – all hallmarks of DMII. To validate these findings they measured TSST-1 levels in DMII patients and found elevated levels. This is the first direct connection between bacterial exposure and diabetes.

Chronic superantigen exposure induces systemic inflammation, elevated bloodstream endotoxin, and abnormal glucose tolerance in rabbits: possible role in diabetes

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