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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Celiac Disease and Toxoplasma Gondii

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Celiac.com 12/08/2011 - Researchers have shown that celiac disease and Toxoplasma gondii infection can both cause a strong neutrophil-mediated immune reaction that can have an adverse impact pregnancy outcomes.

    In most cases, people with otherwise healthy immune systems who develop toxoplasmosis remain asymptomatic, but Toxoplasma gondii can trigger both chronic infection and abortion in adults, as well as fatal illness in patients with immune deficiencies.

    In addition, interleukin-8 (IL8) is known to selectively stimulate the ability of tissue that has been injured or inflamed by neutrophil and T lymphocytes.

    To determine a possible connection between celiac disease and Toxoplasma
    gondii, the research team recruited 827 pregnant women.

    On average, the team took samples 5.5 months into pregnancy, and used enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay to determine Toxoplasma-specific immunoglobulin (Ig) G and IgM (Trinity-Biotech Toxo IgG & IgM, NY).

    To assess IL8 levels, they used human IL8/ NAP-1 enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, Bender MedSystems, Vienna, Austria, in accordance with manufacturer's instructions as well as IgA anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies for celiac disease as described previously.

    After childbirth, those patients satisfied for follow-up who tested positive for anti-tissue transglutaminase submitted to biopsy specimens. The team evaluated biopsies using Marsh-Rostami classification.

    AJGIn all,  27 subjects (3.3 % confidence interval: 1.2 – 4.3) tested positive for anti-tissue transglutaminase. Those patients averaged 27 years of age, and 4.8 months mean pregnancy. Eight of the 27 celiac disease-serology positive subjects submitted to endoscopy. Six of them showed abnormal histology, including two Marsh I, three Marsh IIIa, and one Marsh IIIc.

    Overall, one hundred and fifty-four women (31% ) and 58 (7% ) pregnant women showed positive results for total IgG and IgM for Toxoplasma gondii serology, respectively.

    Notably, 16 out of 27 (59%) celiac disease-serology positive subjects were infected by T. gondii compared with 257 out of 800 (32%) non-celiac disease pregnant women (odd ratio = 3.07, 95% confidence interval: 1.4 – 6.7)

    This finding highlights an important relationship between incidences of celiac disease-serology and Toxoplasma gondii ( P = 0.04).

    Three patients with Marsh I, IIIa, and IIIc also positive IgG showed Toxoplasma gondii infections.

    Regardless of their celiac disease status, patients infected with toxoplasma gondii showed elevated levels of IL8, especially IgM positive patients.

    Results showed that positive celiac disease or Toxoplasma gondii blood screens were connected to poor pregnancy outcomes.

    In all, 9 of 27, or 33.4%, of test subjects with positive celiac disease-serology showed poor medical histories, while more than half of had either previously miscarried (4/9) or produced low birth weight babies (3/9).

    Thus, the researchers point out that positive celiac disease-serology correlated with greater risk of low birth weights and miscarriages regardless of T. gondii status.

    The results of this study show patients with positive celiac disease-serology had higher overall rates of Toxoplasma gondii infection rates than did those with negative celiac disease serology, but celiac disease did not trigger increase in proinflammatory cytokines, such as IL8.

    This suggests that celiac disease may increase the risk of Toxoplasma gondii infection.

    From these observations, the research team proposes that celiac disease predisposes individuals to Toxoplasma gondii infection and may promote distribution of the ingested Toxoplasma gondii oocysts beyond small bowel lesions and might increase sensitivity to gluten in some way.

    On the other hand, the presence of Toxoplasma gondii may promote the celiac disease in susceptible individuals. This is in keeping with prior studies that suggest that other enteric infections may promote celiac disease among susceptible individuals.

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    Guest stephanie gorkowski

    Posted

    Excellent article, will copy and take to my gastro next week, upper endoscopy, Tuesday!!! Also Dr. Roger Greenlaw of Rockford gastroenterologists just retired last year and he has tried all medications on me since 1975 when I got Crohn's at birth of 2nd child! Then told she would have died if Crohn's had started a little earlier!!!! I was the last child of 2 girls, now she has it and lung and esinophils and asthma symptoms, with severe mucus on lungs!!!

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    This may tie in with research noted by William Davis MD in his new book, "Wheat Belly," linking schizophrenia to wheat consumption. Also elevated Interleukin 8 levels in mothers have been linked to increased schizophrenia in offspring. Wheat induced zonulin may make the blood brain barrier more permeable and more susceptible to impact also.

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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 2,000 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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