New research indicates that intestinal bacteria may play a role in preventing the development of type 1 diabetes (Wen L et al. Nature. 10.1038/nature07336 [published online ahead of print September 21, 2008]).
Investigators at the University of Chicago, Yale University in New Haven, Conn, and other institutions made this potential link through experiments with genetically modified diabetic mice that lack a part of the immune system that responds to bacteria. Specifically, the mice do not produce a protein called MyD88, which relays signals from multiple innate immune receptors that recognize microbial stimuli.
Hampton T. Diabetes and Bacteria. JAMA. 2008;300(17):1989. doi:10.1001/jama.2008.530