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Can Understanding Molecular Similarities Help Us Cure Autoimmune Diseases?

Celiac.com 03/25/2015 - In what may prove to be a remarkable step in understanding human diseases, a team of scientists affiliated with Northeastern University has found a way to connect diseases based on their shared molecular interactions.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons--JPM32A paper by the Northeastern team appears in the journal Science. The paper details their creation of a mathematical tool to analyze the map of the molecular interactions within cells, called the human interactome, and the discovery that over-lapping disease modules, or "neighborhoods" of disease-associated proteins, can give rise to some very unexpected relationships between diseases.

Increasing amounts of research, says Albert-László Barabási, are making it very clear that "human diseases can be interpreted only in the context of the intricate molecular network between the cell’s components."

Barabási is Robert Gray Dodge Professor of Network Science and University Distinguished Professor and director of Northeastern’s Center for Complex Network Research. The Northeastern researchers are based in the Center for Complex Network Research. The team comprises Barabási, Menche, postdoctoral researcher Maskim Kitsak, research assistant professor Amitabh Sharma, and graduate physics student Susan Dina Ghiassian, PhD’15.

For their study, the Northeastern team analyzed 299 diseases that had at least 20 associated genes. They found that 226 of the diseases had their own specific "neighborhood" within the interactome. They noticed that diseases within the same neighborhood had more in common in terms of molecular functions or symptoms, while diseases that were far away from each other within the interactome had very little in common in terms of molecular functions or symptoms.

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Among their findings, they noted that asthma, and celiac disease are localized in overlapping neighborhoods, which suggests shared molecular roots, even though they have very different pathobiologies.

This is the first study to show that the available network maps offer enough coverage and accuracy to provide valuable information about the molecular origins of disease-disease relationships, says Jörg Menche, a postodoctoral researcher and one of the authors on the paper.

This is a very interesting and potentially promising discovery that may pave the way for a much deeper understanding of relationships between celiac and numerous other diseases.

Stay tuned for more news.

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1 Response:

 
Janice Lamb
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
30 Mar 2015 6:34:42 AM PDT
This sounds very, very interesting!!




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Yes but...

I didn't read that far. Yikes... A hefty dose of perspective in that one. For anyone reading this is the post:

Hi! I'm new to the Celiac world. I have been gluten free for around seven months, but still seem to get glutened on a regular basis. I have been sick since January '16 and think that is when it triggered, but I didn't realize until October what it was. By that time I was pregnant with my little boy who is due in June. I also have an almost 4 year old daughter. I am really torn and wondering if I need to really be tested? I have very strong suspicions that I am a true celiac because my aunt has been diagnosed. Part of me says it doesn't matter, just live gluten free and assume you are, but the other part says I need to get tested so I know if my kids are at risk. So far my daughter is fine. She was grain free until after her first birthday, I plan on doing the same with my son. But I also don't want them to suffer the way I have. What would you do? The reason I don't want to get tested is I don't want to start eating it again and feel terrible while I have little kids, last year was so hard and I just want to get strong again. I also plan to bf for a few years and don't necessarily think it's a good idea to eat gluten while bf right? Thank you!

Welcome too! Sorry to hear you're suffering now. If you can nail the diet you should improve. You should also think about vitamin supplements. There's a good chance that you're suffering from one or more deficiencies as a result of the affects of celiac on your intestine's capacity to draw nutrients from your food. A good multi vitamin is a must, just make sure its gluten free and see if your doctor can refer you to a dietician as Lochella's has.

Oh I had heard his name and read some stuff about him but hadn't come across this video! Thanks!!