Early Childhood Gut Microbiomes Show Strong Geographic Differences Among Subjects at High Risk for Type 1 Diabetes

Kaisa M. Kemppainen; Alexandria N. Ardissone; Austin G. Davis-Richardson; Jennie R. Fagen; Kelsey A. Gano; Luis G. Léon-Novelo; Kendra Vehik; George Casella; Olli Simell; Anette G. Ziegler; Marian J. Rewers; Åke Lernmark; William Hagopian; Jin-Xiong She; Jeffrey P. Krischer; Beena Akolkar; Desmond A. Schatz; Mark A. Atkinson; Eric W. Triplett


Diabetes Care. 2015;38(2):329-332. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Objective Gut microbiome dysbiosis is associated with numerous diseases, including type 1 diabetes. This pilot study determines how geographical location affects the microbiome of infants at high risk for type 1 diabetes in a population of homogenous HLA class II genotypes.

Research Design and Methods High-throughput 16S rRNA sequencing was performed on stool samples collected from 90 high-risk, nonautoimmune infants participating in The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young (TEDDY) study in the U.S., Germany, Sweden, and Finland.

Results Study site–specific patterns of gut colonization share characteristics across continents. Finland and Colorado have a significantly lower bacterial diversity, while Sweden and Washington state are dominated by Bifidobacterium in early life. Bacterial community diversity over time is significantly different by geographical location.

Conclusions The microbiome of high-risk infants is associated with geographical location. Future studies aiming to identify the microbiome disease phenotype need to carefully consider the geographical origin of subjects.


The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young (TEDDY) study was formed to investigate environmental factors that trigger type 1 diabetes in genetically at-risk children.[1] The gut microbiome is of interest, as several studies[2–6] have shown that dysbiosis of the microbiome is associated with type 1 diabetes autoimmunity. The composition of the fecal microbiome is dependent on numerous external factors, including geographical location.[7–11] This work presents the first geographical assessment of the gut microbiome in these genetically higher-risk children.