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J Immunol. 2012 Oct 15;189(8):3805-14. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1201257. Epub 2012 Sep 17.

Prevention of virus-induced type 1 diabetes with antibiotic therapy.

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Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes, University of Colorado Denver, Aurora, CO 80045, USA.

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  • J Immunol. 2012 Dec 15;189(12):5995.


Microbes were hypothesized to play a key role in the progression of type 1 diabetes (T1D). We used the LEW1.WR1 rat model of Kilham rat virus (KRV)-induced T1D to test the hypothesis that the intestinal microbiota is involved in the mechanism leading to islet destruction. Treating LEW1.WR1 rats with KRV and a combination of trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole (Sulfatrim) beginning on the day of infection protected the rats from insulitis and T1D. Pyrosequencing of bacterial 16S rRNA and quantitative RT-PCR indicated that KRV infection resulted in a transient increase in the abundance of Bifidobacterium spp. and Clostridium spp. in fecal samples from day 5- but not day 12-infected versus uninfected animals. Similar alterations in the gut microbiome were observed in the jejunum of infected animals on day 5. Treatment with Sulfatrim restored the level of intestinal Bifidobacterium spp. and Clostridium spp. We also observed that virus infection induced the expression of KRV transcripts and the rapid upregulation of innate immune responses in Peyer's patches and pancreatic lymph nodes. However, antibiotic therapy reduced the virus-induced inflammation as reflected by the presence of lower amounts of proinflammatory molecules in both the Peyer's patches and pancreatic lymph nodes. Finally, Sulfatrim treatment reduced the number of B cells in Peyer's patches and downmodulated adaptive immune responses to KRV, but did not interfere with antiviral Ab responses or viral clearance from the spleen, pancreatic lymph nodes, and serum. The data suggest that gut microbiota may be involved in promoting virus-induced T1D in the LEW1.WR1 rat model.

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