Celiac.com 01/05/2010 - Researchers have found that celiac disease often precedes Type 1 diabetes in children with both conditions, and that up to 10% of children with Type 1 have clinical celiac disease, according to findings presented at Gastro 2009 in London, UK by T. Hansson of Uppsala University Hospital, Sweden.

Hansson explained that researchers detected elevated levels of celiac disease-associated antibodies in children with recent onset Type I diabetes.

“The presence of autoantibodies against tissue transglutaminase (anti-tTG) implies that celiac disease was present already at the time of Type 1 diabetes onset in all children having both diseases,” he said. “Hence, celiac disease may precede and cause Type 1 diabetes in children with both diseases.”

A team of researchers looked for anti-tTG in blood samples from 169 children with new-onset Type 1 diabetes, 88 siblings of the patients, and 96 age- and gender-matched controls.

A total of 21 patients with Type 1 diabetes, six siblings, and three controls showed elevated levels of anti-tTG.

The team confirmed celiac disease via intestinal biopsy in five children before Type 1 diabetes, and 12 children after onset. Interestingly, blood samples from all but one of the 12 showed elevated anti-tTG at time of Type 1 diabetes onset and the remaining child showed elevated levels within 6 months of onset.

From this, the research team concludes that 10.1% of children with Type 1 diabetes patients showed confirmed celiac disease, compared with 4.5% of siblings, all of whom were asymptomatic, and 2.1% of controls.

The researchers suggest that a "change in diet in individuals with genetic susceptibility may reduce the risk of developing Type 1 diabetes." They add that “all Type 1 diabetes children and their siblings should be routinely screened for celiac disease-related antibodies.”

Source: Gastro 2009, UEGW/WCOG; London, UK: 21–25 November

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