A blog by a gastroenterologist about food and the gut in health and disease
Monday, February 14, 2011
Celiac linked genetically to autoimmune disorder of childhood
Researchers from the University of Manchester, England have published genetic DNA data that confirms a link between Celiac disease and diabetes to an autoimmune disorder in children, Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA). This is still a new concept to many physicians. In my experience, most Rheumatologists (autoimmune arthritis specialists) are skeptical of a link between Celiac and autoimmune arthritis conditions. Most pediatric endocrinologists and many adult endocrinologists (diabetes specialists) are aware of the link between Celiac and type I (juvenile onset, insulin dependent diabetes) and routinely screen their patients for Celiac disease.
Those of us acquainted with the plight of those with Celiac and gluten sensitivity frequently see the association of gluten and autoimmune disorders. Many of these patients who already have a autoimmune disorder are frustrated, even angry, that gluten sensitivity was not considered before they developed an irreversible autoimmune disorder. Many continue to be frustrated that their physicians give little credence to the role of gluten in their arthritis symptoms.
These researchers further lend credence to the concept that there are genetic associations to Celiac disease and autoimmune disease, in particular autoimmune arthritis. They found several DNA loci that are confirmed as being associated with Celiac disease and type I Diabetes were found linked with JRA. Some of us have raised the question whether those with known Celiac risk genetics, family history of Celiac and/or other autoimmune disease, should consider restricting or eliminating gluten. This is a concept that certainly has little support in the medical establishment thus far but continued discovery of genetic links between Celiac and other autoimmune disorders will further the discussion along within the medical community.