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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Scientists Finally Know What Causes Celiac Disease!

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Caption: Champagne toast! Photo: CC--Ryan Hyde

    Celiac.com 08/19/2015 - For the first time since it was described and named by 1st century Greek physician Aretaeus of Cappadocia, first linked to wheat in the 1940's, and specifically linked to gluten in 1952, scientists have discovered the cause of celiac disease.

    Photo: CC--Ryan HydeProfessor Ludvig Sollid, and his team at the Centre for Immune Regulation at University of Oslo, have discovered that people with celiac disease suffer from one of two defective human leukocyte antigens (HLAs), which cause the immune system to see gluten molecules as dangerous, triggering the immune response that causes classic celiac-associated inflammation and other symptoms.

    To be true, the team was not working in the dark. They were armed with a complete map of the genes, an understanding that two types of HLA (HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8) predispose a person for celiac disease, and the very crucial recent discovery by a team of German colleagues that celiac patients have antibodies for a very precise enzyme: transglutaminase 2.

    "We also found that the bits of gluten that were presented to the T-cells have some changes caused by an enzyme in the body – transglutaminase 2", says Sollid. HLAs are proteins which act as markers, binding to fragments of other proteins, and telling T-cells how to treat them.

    So it wasn't much of a stretch for Professor Sollid's team to determine that the defective HLAs bind to fragments of gluten, causing the T-cells to treat them as bacteria or viruses.

    Basically, two HLA types present gluten remnants to the T-cells, causing the T-cells to regard the gluten as dangerous, and to trigger immune reactions that cause inflammation in the intestines, and this is what causes celiac disease.

    "We think that this is huge," Sollid said. "We understand the immune cells that are activated and why they are activated."

    At present, Professor Sollid and his group are investigating how antibodies against transglutaminase are formed.

    This is a simple, but huge moment in the annals of medicine and in the annals of celiac disease. It's a discovery that will help researchers develop new approaches to treatment, and/or a cure for celiac disease in the future.

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    Not exactly the whole story - why they keep missing this is beyond me

    Celiac disease existed way back when - yes , but it was extremely rare ( One in 4000)

    Reason it was linked to wheat in the late 1940s and then to gluten in the 1950s was because Norman Borlaug bioengineered modern wheat (a Tribred- 3 different plants ) right after World War II . His new wheat was pest & disease-resistant shorter stock larger bud higher-yield per acre. The seed started being used soon after that, & in increasing numbers of cases for celiac started popping up in the 1950s. The Side effect of Borlaug's new modern wheat was the gluten was different - more gluten in the grain perhaps ? - but was different than the gluten in the heirloom wheats.

    This is a common myth that I've seen repeated in several forms, but it has no scientific validity.

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    This is a common myth that I've seen repeated in several forms, but it has no scientific validity.

    I believe genetically engineered products have changed us and there is no scientific evidence because it hasn't been long enough to study or no one really is studying it!

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    Guess I'll have to read the article. I don't see anything new reported in this article.

    What't new is the fact that scientists have finally connected the dots between the DQ2/DQ8 markers and the actual mechanics of gut damage from celiac disease. That's huge, and potentially of great benefit to researchers looking for treatments and cures, and thus, to people with celiac disease.

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    I believe genetically engineered products have changed us and there is no scientific evidence because it hasn't been long enough to study or no one really is studying it!

    So your belief is based on nothing but your imagination?

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    Certainly not helpful in the long run for people suffering from this terrible disease right now. Cancer isn't curable but there are meds to help people. Why is it taking so long to find or release drugs for trial more widely in the states than is or should be done. A diet is not the answer.

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    There is a small percentage of those with celiac disease who have neither DQ2 nor 8. Search for HLA negative celiac disease to find the articles.

    I have heard this I thought from Dr. Fasano but I am not sure it was from him.

    At any rate, there is a very valid issue with feeling excluded, which is to say, if you have celiac, you have what 99% of other people do not have. If you do not have either HLA-DQ2 or HLA-DQ8 AND are celiac, you are even MORE of an "odd bird." The idea that physicians are able to find this out on their own initiative also is a lot like in my long experience thinking that pigs can fly. So I agree with Anne here.

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    It is supremely ignorant to call our genes "defective HLAs". These genes are much older than the defective practice of eating grains or hybridizing wild grasses to create the first form of wheat. Certain gliadin peptides are not digestible by any human's enzymes and some cause temporary intestinal permeability in all, according to Alessio Fasano's research.

     

    Despite the addiction to gluteomorphins and the worship of wheat and the resulting irritation and madness fueling endless war in the Mideast by all 3 religions originating there, where the creation of wheat occurred, and the knowledge that high antibodies to gliadin in a pregnant mother results in higher probability for schizophrenia in adulthood for her child, as well as depression and the likelihood that this young adult will be put on an SSRI drug and become a mass shooter, the brainwashing, ignorance proliferated by medical school deans refusing to teach the dangers of gluten to central nervous systems, and the fact that the majority of Caucasians have an HLA gene that predisposes them to have an autoimmune attack if their brain induced by gluten they have the audacity to call wheat, barley and rye "safe food" and declare us defective. This is a genocidal mindset by Nazi inspired capitalists.

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    So your belief is based on nothing but your imagination?

    Is it possible to do scientific studies without imagination? Someone's imagination worked with observation and decided to set up a study. Is there really anything other than imagination driving us? Is a skewed scientific study better than the imagination exercised by everyone every day to create the environment we live in? Look at us today, avoiding fat because the sugar industry wanted to distract us from the harm of sugar. You can't metabolize many nutrients without fat. Does the science presented make it true that avoiding valuable nutrients to keep the sugar industry happy will make us healthy? Sometimes common sense applied to imagination or common sense applied to science is all we've got to go on. My father decided that the battle over whether to cut fat or not didn't matter, he was going with fat. He existed because his ancestors ate fat so it made sense to his imagination. The scientific evidence has come around to proving him right.

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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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