While it is known that celiac disease can be developed only in people who are genetically predisposed to suffer from it, the main reason for its appearance is still unknown.
Newest researches suggest that a way some gut bacteria respond to gluten could be the answer.
1% of the U.S.A. population is gluten intolerant and suffers from celiac disease. It’s been shown that when a patient who suffers from celiac disease is given gluten, system starts reacting by damaging the small intestine and causes other symptoms like diarrhea, bloating, fatigue, and abdominal pain.
Disease is also stimulated by a gene mutation, but only 2-3% of the people with the mutation suffer from celiac disease.
What you should know about this disease is that the only existing treatment is a diet which includes no gluten, about 5-22% of patients with this condition have a first-degree relative with celiac disease and approximately 83% of the population in the U.S. with celiac disease is undiagnosed or misdiagnosed with other conditions.
Dr. Elena F. Verdu from the Digestive Health Research Institute at McMaster University in Canada and her team of colleagues conducted a research on the response of the immune system to gluten in the cases of several different types of gut bacteria in mice intolerant to this protein. You can find the results in the American Journal of Pathology.
The team examined three groups of mice which expressed a gene known as DQ8, which can be also found in people and makes them genetically prone to gluten intolerance.
The first group was germ free and the second was specific-pathogen-free (SPF) which meant their gut microbiomes contained no opportunistic pathogens or Proteobacteria or gram-negative bacteria. The third group consisted of conventional SPF mice, which had various kinds of gut bacteria, such as pathogens like Helicobacter, Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, as well as Proteobacteria.
The researchers found that the germ-free mice have an anatomical modification of the villi, which are small, fingerlike projections that line the small intestine, as well as an increase in the rate of death of enterocytes, which are cells that line the gastrointestinal tract. They’ve also developed antibodies in response to gliadin, which is an ingredient of gluten. Also, these mice also showed T-cell responses unique to gliadin.
Even though they found a termination of the development of gluten-induced pathology in the case of clean SPF mice, when they were given entero- adherent Escherichia coli from an individual suffering from with celiac disease, it was no longer the case.
Conventional SPF mice showed more significant gluten-induced pathology compared to clean SPF mice. That’s why the team started examining the possibility that the presence of Proteobacteria, like Helicobacter or Escherichia, can be an influential factor.
When they boosted the presence of Proteobacteria in conventional SPF mice by using an antibiotic known as vancomycin around the time of their birth, the gluten-induced pathology became aggravated.
“These studies demonstrate that perturbation of early microbial colonization in life and induction of dysbiosis (microbial imbalance inside the body), characterized by increased Proteobacteria, enhances the severity of gluten-induced responses in mice genetically predisposed to gluten sensitivity. Importantly, our data argue that the recognized increase in celiac disease prevalence in the general population over the last 50 years could be driven, at least in part, by perturbations in intestinal microbial ecology. Specific microbiota-based therapies may aid in the prevention or treatment of celiac disease in subjects with moderate genetic risk.” Said Dr. Verdu.
But Dr. Robin G. Lorenz, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, in an editorial related to this study, didn’t agree and said that even though the results of this study suggest that the presence of Proteobacteria could significantly affect the celiac disease pathology, they do not show any indication that the illness is actually caused by Proteobacteri, which could only mean that Proteobacteria stimulates the immune response to gluten or gliadin.
Medical News Today reported a study where it is stated that patients with celiac disease are prone to develop nerve damage.