J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2004 Feb; 38(2): 177-180

Celiac.com 02/13/2004 - It has been determined that children with celiac disease exhibit an increased level of chromosome aberrations in peripheral blood lymphocytes, which may be a major factor in their higher risk of cancer over time. Now, a study by British and Croatian researchers has found that adherence to a gluten-free diet can actually decrease the number of chromosome aberrations in these children. The researchers compared chromosome aberrations in 17 children with celiac disease--before going gluten-free, then after a minimum 24 month gluten-free diet--and compared these results with that of 15 healthy children. They found that 12 of the 15 celiacs strictly followed the gluten-free diet, and these children had a significantly lower number of chromosome aberrations when compared with both the control group and the other three celiac children who did not follow the diet.

The researchers conclude: "The frequency of chromosome aberrations in peripheral blood lymphocytes of patients with celiac disease decreased significantly on a gluten-free diet. We conclude that genomic instability is a secondary phenomenon, possibly caused by chronic intestinal inflammation."

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