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Water pH Impacts Gut Microflora in Non-Obese Diabetic Mice

Female NOD mice receiving acidic pH water develop insulitis and hyperglycemia rapidly

FRIDAY, Nov. 22, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- For non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice that spontaneously develop type 1 diabetes (T1D), the pH of drinking water influences the composition of the gut microflora, correlating with an altered immune response and T1D incidence, according to an experimental study published online Nov. 5 in Diabetes.

Noting that the incidence of T1D in NOD mice is influenced by the degree of cleanliness of the mouse colony and gut microflora, M. Hanief Sofi, Ph.D., from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, and colleagues examined the impact of pH of drinking water on the incidence of T1D and rate of progression in NOD mice. Female mice were used throughout the study.

The researchers found that, compared to those on neutral pH water, female NOD mice maintained on acidic pH water developed insulitis and hyperglycemia rapidly. In mice that were on acidic pH water, but not on neutral pH water, forced dysbiosis by segmented filamentous bacteria-positive fecal transfer correlated with significant suppression of the insulitis and T1D incidence. When the pH of drinking water was altered, 16S rDNA-targeted pyrosequencing showed a significant change in the composition and diversity of gut flora. Recipients of acidic pH water had significantly higher autoantigen specific T cell frequencies in the periphery and pro-inflammatory cytokine response in the intestinal mucosa, compared with recipients of neutral pH water.

"These observations suggest that pH of drinking water affects the composition of gut microflora, leading to an altered autoimmune response and T1D incidence in NOD mice," the authors write.

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