Celiac.com 05/14/2014 - A team of Canadian researchers have discovered a key molecule that could lead to new treatments for celiac disease. The molecule, called elafin, protects the lining of the intestine, says Elena Verdu, associate professor of medicine, and head of the McMaster University research team.

Photo: CC--Paul HudsonWhen people with celiac disease consume gluten, tiny proteins called gliadins cross the intestinal lining and cause inflammation. There are also other proteins in wheat grain that may contribute to the common complaint of abdominal pain, such as ATIs which help grains be resistant to pests.

Low levels of elafin in the intestinal lining can increase inflammation. According to Verdu, treatment with elafin could strengthen the intestinal lining, protect it from accidental gluten ingestion or contamination, and help to speed recovery.

The Canadian Institute of Health Research is providing $400,000 over four years to fund the research.

Stay tuned for more reporting on their efforts.

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