Studies suggest that in addition to genetic factors, environmental factors such as diet and the gastrointestinal microbiota influence the onset of Type I Diabetes (T1D). Bacteroides are considered to be normal members in a healthy human colon that play an important role in digestion of complex polysaccharides, yet recent research articles have suggested that the normal proportion of Bacteroides species increases significantly in genetically susceptible children before the onset of T1D. Acarbose is an alpha amylase inhibitor that is approved for human use. We hypothesize that acarbose will also interact with Bacteroides alpha-amylase enzymes and therefore has potential as a novel therapeutic to prevent the onset or exacerbation of T1D by inhibiting the abnormal increase in Bacteroides. Our in vitro results demonstrate that acarbose inhibits the growth of Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron (B. theta) at concentrations of 50 uM. This inhibition appears to be specific to both the drug and the Bacteroides species. These findings have the possibility of providing a novel T1D treatment by preventing the bloom of Bacteroides in genetically susceptible individuals.
Davis, Bryn; Ross, Katrina; Bryant, Halee; Tackeberry, Kelsey; Blake-Hedges, Caitlyn; O'Neil, Adam; Patel, Neal; Whitehead, Daniel C.; and Whtiehead, Kristi J., "Exploiting the Gastrointestinal Microbiota as a Therapeutic Target for Type 1 Diabetes" (2015). Focus on Creative Inquiry. 120.