Nearly 10% of individuals in the United States suffer from type 2 diabetes, and the associated costs are hundreds of billions of dollars. Several studies have correlated microbiome alterations with the presence of diabetes, and studies in mice have shown that changes in the microbiome can lower glucose levels, putting the mice at risk for diabetes. The iHMP plans on studying diabetes and its associations with the microbiome through a longitudinal study.
Specifically the iHMP will be testing the following hypotheses:
1) "Environmental stress causes dynamic changes in specific biological pathways in the human body, and these changes lead to alteration of the human microbiome...including glucose."
2) "Some of the changes may affect the [hosts' gene regulation] leading to...biological alteraions that extend well beyond the time of the stress period"
3) "Different physiological stresses, such as respiratory viral infections and diet changes, may have common effects in both the host and microbiome"
The iHMP will investigate these hypotheses by enrolling a cohort of 60 adults at risk for diabetes. The study will last 3 years and during these years the researchers expect at least 10 individuals to become diabetic. They will sample the patients' stool, nasal, urine, skin, tongue, and blood microbiomes every 2-3 months, which will measure a full suite of biologics that include bacteria, lipid content, metabolites, and proteins. Sampling will also occur during periods of 'stress' that include mental stress as well as illnesses and physical trauma.
As always the results of the study will be made available, and we will be checking in on their progress.
This blog post concludes our series on the iHMP (HMP2). We hope that anyone reading this will continue to check in on the iHMP progress, as we hope the role of the microbiome in pregnancy, IBD, and diabetes continues to unfold.