Researchers Are Zeroing in on Main Cause of Celiac Disease

October 12, 2015

Researchers Are Zeroing in on Main Cause of Celiac Disease


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The origins of celiac disease have remained a mystery, but today researchers are making progress on what may cause this condition to develop.

Doctors and scientists have found a possible answer behind the development of celiac disease and that answer lies in the gut – literally! Led by Dr. Elena Verdu, a research team from McMaster’s Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Institute have recently discovered that a certain gut bacteria triggers a negative response to gluten.

These researchers completed a study on two groups of mice that had the celiac disease genes. One group of mice was made to have an ultra-clean gut bacteria, while the other group had a number of complex bacteria making up their gut bacteria. The group with the complex bacteria reacted negatively to gluten, and this reaction was intensified when the amount of bacteria (including E.Coli, Staphylococcus and Helicobacter) was enhanced. When the group with the ultra-clean gut bacteria was exposed to small amounts of complex bacteria, they too began to have celiac disease symptoms.

So, what does this mean?

This study furthers the knowledge that environmental factors are causing an increase in the occurrence of celiac disease. Lifestyle choices, such as the foods we eat and the usage of antibiotics, have an impact on what bacteria are found in our gut. This research may help to develop a treatment to supplement the gluten-free diet that will act as protection in the stomach when someone is exposed to gluten.