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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    What’s the Relationship Between Celiac Disease and Endocrine Autoimmunity?

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Patients with monoglandular and/or polyglandular autoimmunity, and their relatives, have higher rates of celiac disease than those without such autoimmunity. A new study looks into the relationship between the two conditions.

    What’s the Relationship Between Celiac Disease and Endocrine Autoimmunity? - Thyroid check up. Image: CC--COM SALUD Agencia de comunicación
    Caption: Thyroid check up. Image: CC--COM SALUD Agencia de comunicación

    Celiac.com 12/20/2018 - Patients with monoglandular and/or polyglandular autoimmunity, and their relatives, have higher rates of celiac disease than those without such autoimmunity. Somewhere between 10 and 30% of patients with celiac disease test positive for thyroid and/or type 1 diabetes antibodies, while around 5 to 7% of patients with autoimmune thyroid disease and/or type 1 diabetes test positive for IgA anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies. 

    A team of researchers recently set out to examine the relationship between celiac disease and endocrine autoimmunity. The research team included George J. Kahalya, Lara Frommera, and Detlef Schuppan. They are variously affiliated with the Department of Medicine I, Johannes Gutenberg University (JGU) Medical Center, Mainz, Germany, the Institute for Translational Immunology and Research Center for Immunotherapy (FZI), Johannes Gutenberg University (JGU) Medical Center, Mainz, Germany, and the Division of Gastroenterology and the Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, United States.



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    Celiac disease and endocrine autoimmunity do share a common genetic background, which definitely explains some of the relationship. The main common denominators are HLA antigens DQ2 (DQA1*0501-DQB1*0201) and/or DQ8 (DQA1*0301-DQB1*0302), that are tightly linked to DR3 and DR4, respectively. 

    Researchers have identified functional single nucleotide polymorphisms of various genes involved in immune regulation as susceptibility genes for both celiac disease and monoglandular or polyglandular autoimmunity. This is a promising hypothesis, but exactly how the effects of a gluten-free diet might prevent or ameliorate glandular autoimmunity remains unclear. 

    Based on their results, the research team does recommend that all patients with celiac disease be tested for type 1 diabetes and/or autoimmune thyroid disease. They also recommend that patients with the above autoimmune endocrine disorders be checked for celiac disease.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams

    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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