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I underwent a 1 month gluten challenge for testing. No blood work was run (grrr), endoscopy was normal. Oh well. NCGS, I guess. 

One of the symptoms I had was headache, dizziness, and my eye lids and gums started getting pale, my fingernails thinned and started to get spoon shaped. I suspect anemia. I have a history of anemia that I never linked to gluten that went away when gluten-free three years ago. 

No damage to villi. Symptoms of anemia.  Only 1 month gluten challenge so I doubt that would be long enough to destroy everything anyway.  Hmmm. 

In 2008, it was established that transferrin receptor CD71 was responsible for getting gliadin across the epithelium into the body.  And in that paper, they found that those with celiac on a gluten-free diet had normal transferrin receptor expression.  But those with celiac disease who were not gluten-free had larger amounts of transferrin receptor and they were localized at the tips of the villi.  

Here's that paper: https://www.celiac.com/articles/21551/1/Transferrin-Receptor-CD71-Implicated-in-Celiac-Disease/Page1.html

In a mouse model experiment in 2015, it was demonstrated that transferrin receptors play an integral role in intestinal health.  When transferrin receptors were not functioning and intestinal villi destruction was induced, the cells could not recover.

Here is that paper: http://www.pnas.org/content/112/37/11714.full.pdf

Here's my hypothesis:  for susceptible individuals, gluten binds to transferrin receptors and this does two things.  It allows for the transport of gluten into the body initiating an immune response.  But is also effectively blocks the receptors resulting in an increased expression where more gluten hitches a ride.  Anemia results because gluten is interfering with the process and the overexpression of this protein with gluten as its recipient aids in epithelial destruction.

If I were involved in the research, I would be looking at the genetics and expression of transferrin proteins in the gluten intolerance process.  

Just a hunch.


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