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DQ8 Causes More Than Just Celiac Disease 08/18/2009 - Many of you know that DQ8 is one of the two major genes which may lead to celiac disease. You may also know that celiac disease is often associated with various other autoimmune diseases. What you may not know is that DQ8 may be the direct cause of these other autoimmune diseases, for these autoimmune diseases are found in increased incidence not just in celiac disease, but also with DQ8 itself.

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What follows is a list I have compiled showing the various diseases that are found in increased frequency among people who have the DQ8 gene (DQB1*0302). I will show the reference number next to each, and the corresponding references will appear below:

  • Celiac disease (1)
  • Scleroderma (2)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (1)
  • Autoimmune thyroiditis (3)
  • Pemphigus (4)
  • Lupus (6)
  • Pemphigoid (5)
  • Focal myositis (7)
  • Multiple sclerosis (8)
  • Myasthenia gravis (1)
  • Insulin dependant latent autoimmune diabetes of adults and adult Type 1 diabetes (9)
  • Type 1 juvenile diabetes (1)
  • Sjogren’s syndrome (10)
  • Addisons’s disease (11)
  • Complex regional pain syndrome with dystonia (12)
  • Latex allergy (13)
This list is not intended to be exhaustive. It is a starter list. Hopefully more research will be done on these, including carefully controlled research as to whether gluten plays any role in triggering these other autoimmune diseases even in the absence of gluten blood antibodies or positive duodenal biopsies. I, for one have DQ8 and numerous of these autoimmune diseases, even though my gluten blood antibodies and duodenal biopsies are negative. We who have this gene need to know for certain #1 whether a gluten free diet will help prevent the triggering of these other various autoimmune diseases, and #2 whether a gluten-free diet will help mitigate autoimmune symptoms that have already developed. I feel no better on the gluten-free diet than before I started it a year and a half ago. However, if I had not been on the diet, perhaps I would be feeling even worse now. Only controlled research will give us the answer.


  2. Autoantibodies to fibrillarin in systemic sclerosis (scleroderma). An immunogenetic, serologic, and clinical analysis. Frank C. Arnett, MD, John D. Reveille, MDet al. See abstract at
  3. A strong association between thyrotropin receptor-blocking antibody- positive atrophic autoimmune thyroiditis and HLA-DR8 and HLA-DQB1*0302 in Koreans. Cho, JH Chung, YK Shong, YB Chang, H Han, JB Lee, HK Lee and CS Koh. See abstract at
  4. Association between HLA-DRB1, DQB1 genes and pemphigus vulgaris in Chinese HansBy Zhou SH, Lin L, Jin PY, Ye SZ. See abstract at:
  5. Polymorphisms of HLA-DR and -DQ Genes in Japanese Patients with Bullous Pemphigoid. By Okazaki A, Miyagawa S, et al. See abstract at:
  6. HLA-DRB1*03 and DQB1*0302 associations in a subset of patients severely affected with systemic lupus erythematosus from western India. By U Shankarkumar, K Ghosh, S S Badakere, D Mohanty. See abstract at:
  7. HLA typing in focal myositis. By Kenji Sekiguchi, Fumio Kanda, Kenichi Oishi, Hirotoshi Hamaguchi, Kenichiro Nakazawa, Nobuya Maeda, Hiroyuki Ishihara and Kazuo Chihara. See abstract at:
  8. HLA-DRB1*1501, -DQB1*0301, -DQB1*0302, -DQB1*0602, and -DQB1*0603 alleles are associated with more severe disease outcome on MRI in patients with multiple sclerosis. By Zivadinov Robert; Uxa Laura et al. See abstract at:
  9. Similar Genetic Features and Different Islet Cell Autoantibody Pattern of Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults (LADA) Compared With Adult-Onset Type 1 Diabetes With Rapid ProgressionBy Nóra Hosszúfalusi, MD, PHD, Ágnes Vatay, MD1, et al. See abstract at
  10. Specific amino acid residues in the second hypervariable region of HLA- DQA1 and DQB1 chain genes promote the Ro (SS-A)/La (SS-B) autoantibody responses. ByJD Reveille, MJ Macleod, K Whittington and FC Arnett. See abstract at
  11. Analysis of extended human leukocyte antigen haplotype association with Addison’s disease in three populations. ByGombos, Hermann, et al. See study at:
  12. HLA-B62 and HLA-DQ8 are associated with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome with fixed dystonia. By Rooij, Gosso, et al. See study at:
  13. HLA-DQ8 and the HLA-DQ8-DR4 haplotype are positively associated with the hevein-specific IgE immune response in health care workers with latex allergy. By  Rihs Hans-Peter; Chen Zhiping; Ruëff Franziska; et al. See abstract at: welcomes your comments below (registration is NOT required).

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6 Responses:

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said this on
22 Aug 2009 5:32:40 AM PST
You say that you are feeling no better on a gluten-free diet. Many of us have found that in order to feel well we need to eliminate more than gluten. I discovered I react strongly to yeast. In fact, when I first went gluten-free I though all yeast breads were contaminated with wheat because of the reaction I had. I have also discovered that I feel best when I eat no grains and no dairy. Have you looked into the possibility that you may be reacting to other foods?

Thanks you for this article and references.

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said this on
03 Sep 2009 4:16:32 PM PST
I too had the negative results on my blood work, but my attacks stopped once I went on the gluten free diet. About a year into the diet I found that I also had issues with Xanthan gum. Now two years in, I have begun to struggle with hypoglycemia attacks and extreme fatigue. I was recently put on a structured diet including protein supplements. The attacks have stopped but the fatigue is becoming worse. I've been to several doctors that all say my lab work checks out, but have no suggestions or answers to why I feel so poorly. So, if the new diet doesn't work they are sending me off for more tests. So, I think that celiac can just be the tip of the iceberg. Any suggestions or insight is welcome.

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said this on
21 Oct 2010 11:57:36 AM PST
My personal opinion is that if you don't feel any better/get worse/no clinical lab or test results improve on the gluten free diet than gluten is not your problem. I hear of so many "gluten intolerant" people who think they have some form of celiac say "but I didn't start to feel better until I cut out dairy/yeast/fruit, etc. Well, then maybe that was what the problem was...what indicates it would be gluten then? It just doesn't make any sense. Just having the genes for celiac or some symptoms of celiac doesn't mean you have celiac or NCGI. And if you still are getting sick, it's entirely possible that food plays little to no role in your illness to begin with unless allergy or intolerance testing proves otherwise. Do I think that a subset of people with autoimmunity/genes/family history for autoimmunity will improve or be helped by being gluten free? Yes. Definitely. I bet some of those people definitely should most certainly be gluten free. However, I suspect that a lot of people are thinking gluten is the problem when really it's not. I mean, if you don't actually have celiac, and if you don't improve or you continue to be ill, what is the point of being gluten free? Likely there is something else going on that requires testing, not cutting out more foods. Although there are people out there who truly have an immune (IgE, IgA, IgM, etc.) reaction to multiple and many (if not all) foods. But they need to be under the care of a specialist anyway. I know because I am one of those people. I also think people in general eat a lot of junk and processed foods, which have additives that bother some people. It's not necessarily gluten that people are reacting to. I do agree 100% with the author that more research does need to be done.

Lisa Cairncross
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said this on
27 Feb 2012 8:08:14 AM PST
Having gone undiagnosed or misdiagnosed for 42 years, I'll never know when my Celiac Disease became active. Once dx'd I removed all gluten from my diet and did indeed get worse and was subsequently diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. The endoscopy performed at one year gluten free revealed increased damage/blunting of my villi. I continued to get sicker and sicker until I had maybe an hour of vertical time per day (right when I awoke and there was no food in my body).

I was gluten free two and a half years before I eliminated all possible food intolerances at once to trial them each separately over a six month period. Within three days of eliminating Grains, Nightshades, Legumes, Nuts, Dairy and Citrus I was up out of bed (had been bedridden for over a year) and have continued to slowly improve with the exception of some horrible days during food trial.

I now believe that a lifetime of gluten destroyed my digestive system which led to other food intolerances. Now that I have removed these foods I have new hope that my digestive system will have an opportunity to heal and I will gain some foods back, but never Gluten. If I am incorrect and never get these foods back -- at least I am out of bed, feeling great (most days) and have a life once again.

PS All three of my children and two grandchildren had negative celiac panels, but have all had greatly improved health on a gluten free diet. Two children had to remove a few other foods through elimination...and are also now healthier than ever before. I am certain they were on the same path as me and would have only got sicker as the decades passed.

Dee Hayes
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said this on
21 Feb 2015 11:01:07 AM PST
I would like a list of the foods you eat because I have been eliminating the same foods over the past decade and am feeling frustrated and hunger about what to eat. Thanks.

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said this on
29 Nov 2013 7:03:44 AM PST
This probably explains why having one autoimmune disease increases your risk for others. They're all closely related (genetic profile wise). I am Pakistani, positive for the HLA-DQ8 gene. Celiac disease is fairly prominent in South Asia too, and I think it's the only gene that is related to Celiac there (HLA-DQ2 is fairly absent).

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This disease is like a chameleon and seems to change symptoms on people and everyone is a bit different, heck some have no symptoms til it almost kills them with secondary issues like cancer, lymphoma, rupturing the intestines etc. I did not have ht classic D but constipation, I also had a bunc...

I just quoted a little part but really much of your experiences could be mine. I won't bore you with it all, but chest pains came from 19, herniated disk came at 21, followed by 20 years of sciatic back pain. Depression at or about the same time. Brain fog little later. There was lots more, prima...

Morning guys. So long story short. Lost 10 kg back late last year. Stress related I believe. ( I Understand this is a big factor with celiacs) Tested. Found anti bodies in my blood. Doctor states potential Celiacs. Have endoscopy. Doctor who takes procedure doubts I have it. ...

Getting a celiac disease diagnosis is shocking. Expect to go through all the stages of grief. Your best defense is to learn how to read labels, avoid cross contamination and consider eating as few processed foods for a few weeks. It may speed healing (wish someone would have advised me to do s...

That is very helpful. Thank you so much.