Researchers found that gut bacteria, Akkermansia muciniphila, is responsible for guarding signals from the hormone insulin, preventing the body from type 2 diabetes.
The researchers examined young and old mice and compared the presence of gut bacteria in both. They found that the count of Akkermansia muciniphila reduces with age, which eventually leads cells to ignore signals from insulin hormone. This condition leads to insulin resistance by cells that cause type 2 diabetes. The findings were published in the journal Science Translational Medicine on November 14, 2018.
A group of researchers at the U.S. National Institute on Aging in Baltimore examined the mice’s gut bacteria at different stages of the rodent. The observed that the mice lose A. muciniphila, also called Akk, and other friendly microbes that help break down dietary fiber into short-chain fatty acids, such as butyrate and acetate. These fatty acids were responsible to signal both bacteria and human cells to perform certain important functions.
Monica Bodogai, lead researcher of the study, said, “losing Akk led to less butyrate production, in turn, loss of butyrate triggered a chain reaction of immune cell dysfunction that ended with mice’s cells ignoring the insulin.”
The researchers experimented with old mice and elderly rhesus macaques by giving an antibiotic called enrofloxacin. They found that the antibiotic increased the abundance of Akk in the animals’ guts and made cells respond to insulin again. They hope that their findings might help doctors to find new ways to find a cure for insulin resistance in elderly people in the near future.