Celiac.com 04/16/2018 - A team of researchers recently set out to investigate whether alterations in the developing intestinal microbiota and immune markers precede celiac disease onset in infants with family risk for the disease.
The team conducted a nested case-control study out as part of a larger prospective cohort study, which included healthy full-term newborns (> 200) with at least one first relative with biopsy-verified celiac disease. The present study includes 10 cases of celiac disease, along with 10 best-matched controls who did not develop the disease after 5-year follow-up.
The team profiled fecal microbiota, as assessed by high-throughput 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing, along with immune parameters, at 4 and 6 months of age and related to celiac disease onset. The microbiota of infants who remained healthy showed an increase in bacterial diversity over time, especially by increases in microbiota from the Firmicutes families, those who with no increase in bacterial diversity developed celiac disease.
Infants who subsequently developed celiac disease showed a significant reduction in sIgA levels over time, while those who remained healthy showed increases in TNF-α correlated to Bifidobacterium spp.
Healthy children in the control group showed a greater relative abundance of Bifidobacterium longum, while children who developed celiac disease showed increased levels of Bifidobacterium breve and Enterococcus spp.
The data from this study suggest that early changes in gut microbiota in infants with celiac disease risk could influence immune development, and thus increase risk levels for celiac disease. The team is calling for larger studies to confirm their hypothesis.