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Viral infections may implicated in coeliac disease

A research project in the Academy of Finland's Research Program on Nutrition, Food and Health (ELVIRA) has identified genes which are linked with human immune defense against viruses and inflammation, rather than being connected with the actual breakdown of gluten in the digestive tract. This may indicate that virus infections may be connected in some way with the onset of gluten intolerance.

These genes are very widespread in the population and, as a result, they are only a minor part of the explanation for the way in which gluten intolerance is inherited but are none the less important as they help researchers explore the reasons behind gluten intolerance. This is essential, because the condition is often relatively symptom-free, yet it can have serious complications unless treated.

The material in the Finnish study is part of a very extensive study of thousands of people with gluten intolerance and control groups in nine different populations. The research will be published in a forthcoming issue of Nature Genetics.

Journal Reference:
Dubois et al. Multiple common variants for celiac disease influencing immune gene expression. Nature Genetics, 2010; DOI: 10.1038/ng.543

Courtesy of Science Daily


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