Probiotics help celiac disease (photo courtesy of SuperFantastic)
A team of researchers has announced what they are calling a 'pivotal advance' regarding the differential influence of bifidobacteria and gram-negative bacteria on immune responses to inflammatory triggers in celiac disease.



Their study provides strong evidence that various intestinal bacteria in celiac patients can influence inflammation, and that dietary probiotics and prebiotics can help improve the quality of life for patients with celiac and other associated diseases, such as type 1 diabetes and various autoimmune disorders.

To conduct their study, they the team used cultures of human peripheral mononuclear cells (PBMCs) as in vitro models. This was possible because blood monocytes constantly replenish intestinal mucosal monocytes, and accurately represent an in vivo situation.

To duplicate the intestinal environment surrounding celiac disease, researchers exposed cell cultures to Gram-negative bacteria and bifidobacteria they had isolated from celiac patients, both alone and in the presence of disease triggers.

They then assessed the effects on surface marker expression and cytokine production by PBMCs. Gram-negative bacteria induced higher pro-inflammatory cytokines than did bifidobacteria.

The Gram-negative bacteria also up-regulated expression of cell surface markers involved in inflammatory aspects of the disease, while bifidobacteria up-regulated the expression of anti-inflammatory cytokines.

Research team still need to confirm the results in clinical trials on people, but the findings offer the first support for new treatment options that may change how celiac disease is treated and possibly prevented.

In the same way the certain foods may contribute to poor health, notes Louis Montaner, D.V.M., M.Sc., D.Phil. Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, "others can have positive effects. For people with celiac disease, this opens a line of research into new therapies that may be as accessible as a grocer's shelf."

SOURCE: Journal of Leukocyte Biology. 2010;87:765-778.

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