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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Saudis Commonly Carry Genes for Celiac Disease

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      More than half of the children carried the high-risk celiac disease-associated HLA-DQ molecules

    Caption: Image: CC--Saly Bechsin

    Celiac.com 01/03/2019 - Celiac disease is common in Saudi Arabia, affecting about 1.5% of the country's total population, according to a recent mass screening study. A team of researchers recently set out to determine the frequency of celiac disease-predisposing human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DQ genotypes in the Saudi population.

    The research team included A Al-Hussaini, H Alharthi, A Osman, N Eltayeb-Elsheikh, and A Chentoufi. They are variously affiliated with the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Children's Specialized Hospital, King Fahad Medical City; College of Medicine, Alfaisal University; Prince Abdullah bin Khalid Celiac Disease Research Chair, Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Division of Immunology, King Fahad Medical City, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; the Department of Immunology, University of Mohammed VI for health sciences, Casablanca, Morocco.

    For their cross-sectional population-based study, the team enrolled 192 randomly selected healthy school children, who all tested negative for tissue transglutaminase-IgA. The team then used polymerase chain reaction sequence-specific oligonucleotide probes to type the children for D QA1 and D QB1 genes.

    More than half of the children carried the high-risk celiac disease-associated HLA-DQ molecules at the following rates: homozygous DQ2.5 ( 2.6%), DQ2.5/DQ2.2 ( 4.7%), heterozygous DQ2.5 ( 28.15%), homozygous DQ8 ( 4.2%), DQ8/DQ2.2 ( 3.6%), and double dose DQ2.2 ( 9.4%). Another 13% had low-risk celiac disease-associated HLA-DQ molecules, single dose DQ2.2 and heterozygous DQ8. 

    In the ultra low-risk groups, subjects without alleles that promote DQ2/DQ8 variants (33.5%), 13.5% carried only one of the alleles of the high-risk HLA-DQ2.5 heterodimer called "half-heterodimer" (HLA-DQA1*05 in 12% and HLA-DQB1* 02 in 1.5%), and 20.8% lacked all the susceptible alleles (DQX.x). The celiac disease-risk groups showed no important differences in gender distribution.

    More than half the healthy general Saudi population carries celiac disease-predisposing HLA-DQ genotypes, one of the highest general rates in the world; a fact that may help to explain the high rates of celiac disease in the Saudi population.


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    503,481...that's the approximate number of people at risk!

    It's just a matter of time and repeated exposure to gluten in the bowel before the damaged intestine begins to leak & cause an immunological responses. Why weren't these studies performed prior to the hybridization of "modern dwarf" wheat?                                                                                                        The mission that began in 1938 to "feed the world" backfired big time. It is no wonder that bags of dwarf wheat are stacked mountain-high in open fields across the US.

    Simply, this is a WOW moment!

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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 biology, anatomy, medicine, science, and advanced research, and scientific methods. 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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