Researchers from Inserm, Paris Descartes University and the CNRS, through collaboration with teams from China and Sweden, have recently shown how microbiota protects against the development of type 1 diabetes.
Pauls summary: It looks as though healthy beta cells produce cathelicidins which are immuno-regulatory and anti-inflammatory. Damaged beta cells do not produce cathelicidins and the autoimmunity develops. Vitamins D deficiency looks to be associated.
Perhaps most importantly, the production of cathelicidins is controlled by the short-chain fatty acids produced by the gut bacteria. Resistant starch, feeds said bacteria, prompting production of butyrate – and the short-chain fatty acids. Diabetic mice, have a lower level of short-chain fatty acids than non-diabetic mice.
Importantly, transplanting part of the gut bacteria from healthy mice to diabetic mice, re-establishes a normal level of cathelicidin, and reduces the occurance of diabetes.