Research Highlight

Gut microbes to signal onset of prediabetes and diabetes

doi:10.1038/nindia.2021.44 Published online 25 March 2021

An abundance of specific gut microbes and molecules related to inflammation can act as biomarkers for predicting the risk of prediabetes, an international research team has found1.

Prediabetes could progress to type 2 diabetes, eventually enhancing the risks of heart disease and stroke.

This finding may aid the development of prebiotics, nondigestible food ingredients that are known to beneficially stimulate the growth and activity of specific gut microbes in the colon, the researchers say.

Such modification of the gut microbes, they say, could reduce microbe-associated inflammation and the risk of diabetes. 

The scientists, including researchers from the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute in Faridabad, India, analysed and compared the abundance of gut microbes between Indian and Danish people with normal glucose levels and prediabetes.

Sequencing the ribosomal RNA genes of the gut microbes, the researchers identified the abundance of specific groups of bacteria belonging to the genus Megasphaera in Indian prediabetic subjects. These bacteria have been shown to modulate the activity of other bacteria and increase the levels of dietary sugars in the large intestine.   

The analysis revealed the relative abundance of other bacteria such as Streptococcus, Escherichia, Prevotella2, Vibrio and Alloprevotella, all of which exhibited more than fourfold enrichment in the gut of the prediabetic subjects.  The researchers also identified the potential of the gut microbes as risk indicators for diabetes2.


1. Pinna, N. K. et al. Trans-ethnic gut microbial signatures of prediabetic subjects from India and Denmark. Genome. Med. (2021) Doi:10.1186/s13073-021-00851-9

2. Alvarez-Silva, C. et al. Trans-ethnic gut microbiota signatures of type 2 diabetes in Denmark and India. Genome. Med. (2021) Doi:10.1186/s13073-021-00856-4