News Worms
News Worms

Gluten allergy in coeliac disease may be provoked by virus

Gluten allergy in coeliac disease may be provoked by virus

A typically harmless type of virus might sometimes trigger celiac disease, a new study suggests.

"This study clearly shows that a virus that is not clinically symptomatic can still do bad things to the immune system and set the stage for an autoimmune disorder, and for celiac disease in particular", said senior study author Dr. Bana Jabri.

More research needs to be done to confirm the findings, but if true, it could lead to better treatment options for sufferers and even a vaccine to prevent the chronic disease.

It has generally been thought that celiac disease, a condition where the immune system treats gluten as a toxin and produces antibodies to fight against it, is a genetic disease.

Within a year, Kingston was diagnosed with celiac disease.

But despite the fact that claims of celiac disease increased up to four-fold between 1990 and 2011 in some parts of the world, scientists still don't fully understand how and why some people's immune systems trigger such a strong inflammatory response to gluten - and why it's becoming more common.

"For those genetically predisposed to celiac disease, the combination of an intestinal reovirus infection with the first exposure to gluten could create the right conditions for developing celiac", the researchers said in a news release.

However, researchers were stumped as to why the immune system reacted the way it did upon encountering this particular protein. The immune response is very intense that it damages the small intestines and causes the patient to suffer diarrhea, bloating, and vomiting. Nevertheless, they have also tested another strain, the T3D one, which appeared to be genetically different from the first one, T1L. A new study, however, has introduced evidence that the condition could be triggered by viral infections.

"The implications ... expand beyond food sensitivities and coeliac disease to possibly other autoimmune disorders where the triggering agent is still unknown", they wrote. The celiac patients who had high levels of reovirus antibodies also had much higher levels of IRF1 gene expression, a transcriptional regulator that plays a key role in the loss of oral tolerance to gluten. Presently, there is no known cure for celiac disease. Both strains interfered with the function of cells in the mice's gut lining, which changed the way they responded to food.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that affects an estimated 300,000 people in Canada, although many of them have not been officially diagnosed. The consumption of gluten-based products, including wheat and rye, are said to cause the disease.

It is reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that at least 3 million Americans have celiac disease, with 97 percent undiagnosed. And it also promoted an inflammatory response to gluten.

The initial viral infection may set the stage for affliction with celiac disease at a later point in the child's life.

"If confirmed by clinical studies, this link between celiac disease and reovirus is exciting because it identifies a possible target for vaccine prevention", said Alessio Fasano, a pediatric gastroenterologist who studies celiac disease at the Massachusetts General Hospital for Children in Boston and who was not involved in the work.


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