The gut microbiota and metabolites are important factors in mediating the development of type-2 diabetes mellitus. An imbalance in the gut microbiota and metabolites can disrupt the function of the intestinal barrier, cause changes in the permeability of the intestinal mucosa and promote the immune inflammatory response, thereby aggravating the fluctuation of blood glucose level and promoting the occurrence and development of the chronic complications of diabetes mellitus.
Manipulating the gut microbiota and metabolites is a promising therapeutic intervention and is being studied extensively. Shen Qi compound (SQC) is a traditional Chinese medicine formulation, which has been widely used to improve type-2 diabetes mellitus. Studies have demonstrated that Shen Qi compound can reduce glycemic variability, alleviate the inflammatory response, etc. However, its underlying mechanism remains unknown. Therefore, in this experiment, We administered Shen Qi compound to Goto-Kakizaki (GK) rats and evaluated its effect on blood glucose homeostasis and the intestinal mucosal barrier.
We identified the profiles of the gut microbiota and metabolites with the aid of 16S rDNA gene sequencing and non-target metabolomics analysis. It showed that Shen Qi compound intervention could reduce glycemic variability, regulate serum levels of glucagon and insulin, and improve injury to the intestinal mucosal barrier of GK rats. In the gut, the ratio of bacteria of the phyla Bacteroidetes/Firmicutes could be improved after Shen Qi compound intervention.
Shen Qi compound also regulated the relative abundance of Prevotellaceae, Butyricimonas, Bacteroides, Blautia, Roseburia, Lactobacillus, and Rothia. We found out that expression of 40 metabolites was significantly improved after SQC intervention.
Further analyses of metabolic pathways indicated that the therapeutic effect of Shen Qi compound might be related predominantly to its ability to improve gluconeogenesis/glycolysis, amino acid metabolism, lipid metabolism, citrate cycle, and butanoate metabolism.
These results suggest that Shen Qi compound may exert a beneficial role in type-2 diabetes mellitus by modulating the gut microbiota and metabolites in different pathways.