Associations between diet, the gut microbiome and short chain fatty acids in youth with islet autoimmunity and type 1 diabetes

Jessica E. Harbison, Rebecca L. Thomson, John M. Wentworth, Jennie Louise, Alexandra Roth-Schulze, Rachel J. Battersby, Katrina M. Ngui, Megan A.S. Penno, Peter G. Colman, Maria E. Craig, Simon C. Barry, Cuong D. Tran, Maria Makrides, Leonard C. Harrison, Jennifer J. Couper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: We aimed to characterize associations between diet and the gut microbiome and short chain fatty acid (SCFA) products in youth with islet autoimmunity or type 1 diabetes (IA/T1D) in comparison with controls. Research design and methods: Eighty participants (25 diagnosed with T1D, 17 with confirmed IA, 38 sibling or unrelated controls) from the Australian T1D Gut Study cohort were studied (median [IQR] age 11.7 [8.9, 14.0] years, 43% female). A Food Frequency Questionnaire characterized daily macronutrient intake over the preceding 6 months. Plasma and fecal SCFA were measured by gas chromatography; gut microbiome composition and diversity by 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Results: A 10 g increase in daily carbohydrate intake associated with higher plasma acetate in IA/T1D (adjusted estimate +5.2 (95% CI 1.1, 9.2) μmol/L p = 0.01) and controls (adjusted estimate +4.1 [95% CI 1.7, 8.5] μmol/L p = 0.04). A 5 g increase in total fat intake associated with lower plasma acetate in IA/T1D and controls. A 5% increase in noncore (junk) food intake associated with reduced richness (adjusted estimate −4.09 [95%CI –7.83, −0.35] p =.03) and evenness (−1.25 [95% CI –2.00, −0.49] p < 0.01) of the gut microbiome in IA/T1D. Fiber intake associated with community structure of the microbiome in IA/T1D. Conclusions: Modest increments in carbohydrate and fat intake associated with plasma acetate in all youth. Increased junk food intake associated with reduced diversity of the gut microbiome in IA/T1D alone. These associations with the gut microbiome in IA/T1D support future efforts to promote SCFA by using dietary interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-433
Number of pages9
JournalPediatric Diabetes
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished or Issued - May 2021


  • diet
  • gut microbiome
  • islet autoimmunity
  • short chain fatty acids
  • type 1 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

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