Compromised Gut Microbiota Networks in Children With Anti-Islet Cell Autoimmunity

  1. Anette-G. Ziegler2
  1. 1Scientific Computing Research Unit, Helmholtz Zentrum München, Germany
  2. 2Institute of Diabetes Research, Helmholtz Zentrum München, and Forschergruppe Diabetes, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technische Universität München, Germany
  3. 3Department of Microbiology and Cell Science, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
  4. 4Department of Pediatrics, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
  5. 5Center for Regenerative Therapies, Dresden, and Paul Langerhans Institute Dresden, Technische Universität Dresden, Germany
  6. 6Institute for Diabetes and Obesity, Helmholtz Zentrum München, Germany
  1. Corresponding author: Anette-G. Ziegler, anette-g.ziegler{at}
  1. D.E. and W.z.C. contributed equally to this work.


The gut microbiome is suggested to play a role in the pathogenesis of autoimmune disorders such as type 1 diabetes. Evidence of anti-islet cell autoimmunity in type 1 diabetes appears in the first years of life; however, little is known regarding the establishment of the gut microbiome in early infancy. Here, we sought to determine whether differences were present in early composition of the gut microbiome in children in whom anti-islet cell autoimmunity developed. We investigated the microbiome of 298 stool samples prospectively taken up to age 3 years from 22 case children in whom anti-islet cell autoantibodies developed, and 22 matched control children who remained islet cell autoantibody–negative in follow-up. The microbiome changed markedly during the first year of life, and was further affected by breast-feeding, food introduction, and birth delivery mode. No differences between anti-islet cell autoantibody–positive and –negative children were found in bacterial diversity, microbial composition, or single-genus abundances. However, substantial alterations in microbial interaction networks were observed at age 0.5 and 2 years in the children in whom anti-islet cell autoantibodies developed. The findings underscore a role of the microbiome in the pathogenesis of anti-islet cell autoimmunity and type 1 diabetes.


  • Received October 30, 2013.
  • Accepted February 19, 2014.

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