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  • Jefferson Adams

    Gut Bacteria Differs in Gluten-free Celiac Patients with Persistent Symptoms

    Jefferson Adams
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    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Celiac.com 02/09/2015 - Do you suffer from persistent celiac symptoms in spite of following a strict gluten-free diet and having normal small bowel mucosa? Many celiac patients do. Moreover, typical explanations, such as accidental gluten-intake or the presence of other gastrointestinal disease, do not account for all of the symptoms in these patients.

    Photo: CC--Quin DombrowskiRecent studies have suggested that changes in intestinal microbiota are associated with autoimmune disorders, including celiac disease.



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    A team of researchers recently set out to determine if abnormal intestinal microbiota may in fact be associated with persistent gastrointestinal symptoms in gluten-free celiac disease patients. The research team included Pirjo Wacklin PhD, Pilvi Laurikka, Katri Lindfors PhD, Pekka Collin MD, Teea Salmi MD, Marja-Leena Lähdeaho MD, Päivi Saavalainen PhD, Markku Mäki MD, Jaana Mättö PhD, Kalle Kurppa MD, and Katri Kaukinen MD.

    They are variously associated with the Finnish Red Cross Blood Service, Helsinki, Finland; School of Medicine, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland; the Tampere Centre for Child Health Research at the University of Tampere and Tampere University Hospital in Tampere, Finland; the Department of Gastroenterology and Alimentary Tract Surgery, Tampere University Hospital, in Tampere, Finland; the Department of Dermatology at Tampere University Hospital in Tampere, Finland; the Research Programs Unit of the Immunobiology, and Department of Medical Genetics at the Haartman Institute of the University of Helsinki in Helsinki, Finland; the Department of Internal Medicine at Tampere University Hospital in Tampere, and with Seinäjoki Central Hospital in Seinäjoki, Finland,

    The team used 16S rRNA gene pyrosequencing to analyze duodenal microbiota in 18 gluten-free celiac patients suffering from persistent symptoms, and 18 gluten-free celiac patients without symptoms.

    All celiac patients had been following a strict gluten-free diet for several years, and had restored small bowel mucosa and tested negative for celiac autoantibodies.

    The team rated symptoms using the Gastrointestinal Symptom Rating Scale, and found that gluten-free celiac disease patients with persistent symptoms had different duodenal bacteria than celiac patients without symptoms.

    Gluten-free celiac patients with persistent symptoms had a higher relative abundance of Proteobacteria (P=0.04) and a lower abundance of Bacteroidetes (P=0.01) and Firmicutes (P=0.05). Moreover, they had a much narrower range of bacteria types in their guts.

    The discovery that dysbiosis of microbiota is associated with persistent gastrointestinal symptoms in gluten-free celiac patients offers a new avenue of treatment for such patients.

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    I too take probiotic's daily and digestive enzymes.  I also have to take "Lectin Lock". because part of my distress was caused by Lectin's (gluten's cousin)  found in Tomatoes, beans, potatoes, etc.  I now am pretty much symptom free.

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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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