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  • Jefferson Adams

    Can IL17A and IL21 Gene Expression and Trx Levels in Celiac Patients Be Used as Diagnostic Biomarkers?

    Jefferson Adams


    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      In the future, doctors might be able to check to see if you have certain genes, and maybe look at your levels of Thioredoxin (Trx), an extracellular regulator of TG2 activity, to determine whether or not you have celiac disease.


    Caption: Image: CC--University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability

    Celiac.com 02/21/2019 - A team of researchers recently set out to evaluate Trx serum levels and the expression levels of IL17A, IL21, and Trx genes in biopsies of gluten-free treated celiac patients, and untreated celiac disease patients compared with healthy individuals. That’s partly due to new findings from a recent study on the subject.

    The Iranian research team included Manizhe Faghih, Mohammad Rostami-Nejad, Davar Amani, Amir Sadeghi, Mohamad Amin Pourhoseingholi, Andrea Masotti, and Mohammad Reza Zali.  



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    The team collected duodenal biopsies from 60 treated celiac patients, 60 healthy control subjects, and eight newly diagnosed celiac patients. They used quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) to determine IL17A, IL21, and Trx gene expression, and to compare them with serum Trx levels assessed by enzyme-linked immuno- sorbent assay (ELISA). 

    Expression levels of IL21 and Trx were similar in the celiac disease group compared to the control group, while significantly more celiac patients than controls carried the IL17A gene. Blood concentrations of Trx were substantially higher in treated celiac disease patients compared to control subjects. 

    Duodenal biopsies of celiac disease patients show much higher levels of the IL17A than in healthy control subjects, while blood levels of Trx are markedly higher in treated celiac disease patients than control subjects. 

    Based on these results, the team concludes that the expression levels of these genes and gene products, respectively, could potentially be used as diagnostic biomarkers for celiac disease patients. 

    Further study is needed to understand the molecular processes involved, but one day a test a few simple biomarkers might help doctors to better treat and monitor patients with celiac disease. 

    Read more at GENETIC TESTING AND MOLECULAR BIOMARKERS, Volume 22, Number 9, 2018, DOI: 10.1089/gtmb.2018.0128


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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,500 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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