Nav: Home

Depleting microbiome with antibiotics can affect glucose metabolism

July 23, 2018

LA JOLLA--(July 23, 2018) A new study from the Salk Institute has found that mice that have their microbiomes depleted with antibiotics have decreased levels of glucose in their blood and better insulin sensitivity. The research has implications for understanding the role of the microbiome in diabetes. It also could lead to better insight into the side effects seen in people who are being treated with high levels of antibiotics. The study appeared in the journal Nature Communications on July 20, 2018.

"This research is very exciting, because the situation we've created in these mice is very similar to what humans go through when they're treated with multiple antibiotics," says Satchidananda Panda, a professor in Salk's Regulatory Biology Laboratory and the paper's senior author. "Now that we know about these effects on glucose metabolism, we can look for components of the microbiome that influence them."

The microbiome is the collection of microorganisms that live in an animal's body, many of which are essential for health. Previous studies have shown that mice whose microbiomes are deficient in certain types of bacteria are more likely to develop diabetes. There is also some evidence that certain microbes may be protective against diabetes.

"Many scientists doing microbiome experiments with mice use antibiotics to clear out bacteria before their intervention," says Amir Zarrinpar, an assistant professor at UC San Diego and the paper's first author. "We show that such clearing out has a tremendous effect on the metabolism of the mouse. So some metabolic effects can be attributed to this depletion rather than the intervention."

The researchers didn't set out to look specifically at how antibiotic-induced depletion influences glucose levels. They wanted to look at the circadian (24 hour) rhythms of mouse metabolism when the microbiome is depleted. This type of research is often done with mice raised in germ-free environments.

"Because we didn't have access to these germ-free mice, we decided to instead deplete the microbiome using common antibiotics from the clinic," Panda says. The investigators used a cocktail of four different antibiotics in the mice to do so. "This weakness--not having the right kind of mice--became a strength that enabled us to make this unexpected discovery," Panda says.

After treating the mice, the investigators observed that there was a large decrease in the diversity of microorganisms present in their guts, as expected. When they looked at the metabolisms of the mice, they found that they were able to clear glucose from their blood much faster than expected.

Further studies showed that the colon tissue in the mice was acting as a kind of sink for the glucose--absorbing the extra sugar and thereby reducing its levels in the blood. This behavior fit the observation that the mice had colons that were greatly increased in size.

The researchers then discovered that these metabolic changes were actually related to changes in liver function and to the bile acids that were being released by the liver. The mice did not have changes in body fat composition or in what they ate--the two things that normally influence glucose metabolism and are known to play a role in type 2 diabetes in humans.

"We're not suggesting that type 2 diabetes be treated with antibiotics," Panda explains.

Zarrinpar adds, "It's just interesting to see that there is a way the microbiome can be manipulated to make the gut produce high levels of hormones that make the body more sensitive to insulin."

The next steps are to look at how the changes in the liver are occurring and which component of the microbiome is influencing the changes. "Perhaps we could find ways to support the growth of certain gut microbes and induce these changes in glucose regulation in humans," Panda concludes. "We are now one step closer to translating this research."
-end-
The paper's other authors were Amandine Chaix and Alan Saghatelian of Salk and Zhenjiang Z. Xu, Max W. Chang, Clarisse A. Marotz and Rob Knight of UC San Diego.

This work was funded by the National Institutes of Health, an American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases Liver Scholar Award, an American Heart Association Beginning Grant-in-Aid, an American Gastroenterological Association Microbiome Junior Investigator Research Award, an American Diabetes Association Mentor-Based Postdoctoral Fellowship, the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, and the Glenn Foundation.

About the Salk Institute for Biological Studies:

Every cure has a starting point. The Salk Institute embodies Jonas Salk's mission to dare to make dreams into reality. Its internationally renowned and award-winning scientists explore the very foundations of life, seeking new understandings in neuroscience, genetics, immunology, plant biology and more. The Institute is an independent nonprofit organization and architectural landmark: small by choice, intimate by nature and fearless in the face of any challenge. Be it cancer or Alzheimer's, aging or diabetes, Salk is where cures begin. Learn more at: salk.edu.

Salk Institute

Related Diabetes Articles:

Tele-diabetes to manage new-onset diabetes during COVID-19 pandemic
Two new case studies highlight the use of tele-diabetes to manage new-onset type 1 diabetes in an adult and an infant during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Genetic profile may predict type 2 diabetes risk among women with gestational diabetes
Women who go on to develop type 2 diabetes after having gestational, or pregnancy-related, diabetes are more likely to have particular genetic profiles, suggests an analysis by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions.
Maternal gestational diabetes linked to diabetes in children
Children and youth of mothers who had gestational diabetes during pregnancy are at increased risk of diabetes themselves, according to new research published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).
Two diabetes medications don't slow progression of type 2 diabetes in youth
In youth with impaired glucose tolerance or recent-onset type 2 diabetes, neither initial treatment with long-acting insulin followed by the drug metformin, nor metformin alone preserved the body's ability to make insulin, according to results published online June 25 in Diabetes Care.
People with diabetes visit the dentist less frequently despite link between diabetes, oral health
Adults with diabetes are less likely to visit the dentist than people with prediabetes or without diabetes, finds a new study led by researchers at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing and East Carolina University's Brody School of Medicine.
Diabetes, but not diabetes drug, linked to poor pregnancy outcomes
New research indicates that pregnant women with pre-gestational diabetes who take metformin are at a higher risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes -- such as major birth defects and pregnancy loss -- than the general population, but their increased risk is not due to metformin but diabetes.
New oral diabetes drug shows promise in phase 3 trial for patients with type 1 diabetes
A University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus study finds sotagliflozin helps control glucose and reduces the need for insulin in patients with type 1 diabetes.
Can continuous glucose monitoring improve diabetes control in patients with type 1 diabetes who inject insulin
Two studies in the Jan. 24/31 issue of JAMA find that use of a sensor implanted under the skin that continuously monitors glucose levels resulted in improved levels in patients with type 1 diabetes who inject insulin multiple times a day, compared to conventional treatment.
Complications of type 2 diabetes affect quality of life, care can lead to diabetes burnout
T2D Lifestyle, a national survey by Health Union of more than 400 individuals experiencing type 2 diabetes (T2D), reveals that patients not only struggle with commonly understood complications, but also numerous lesser known ones that people do not associate with diabetes.
A better way to predict diabetes
An international team of researchers has discovered a simple, accurate new way to predict which women with gestational diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes after delivery.
More Diabetes News and Diabetes Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: Reinvention
Change is hard, but it's also an opportunity to discover and reimagine what you thought you knew. From our economy, to music, to even ourselves–this hour TED speakers explore the power of reinvention. Guests include OK Go lead singer Damian Kulash Jr., former college gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, and entrepreneur Nick Hanauer.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 6: Strange Times
Covid has disrupted the most basic routines of our days and nights. But in the middle of a conversation about how to fight the virus, we find a place impervious to the stalled plans and frenetic demands of the outside world. It's a very different kind of front line, where urgent work means moving slow, and time is marked out in tiny pre-planned steps. Then, on a walk through the woods, we consider how the tempo of our lives affects our minds and discover how the beats of biology shape our bodies. This episode was produced with help from Molly Webster and Tracie Hunte. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.