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From: pautrey on 23 Jul 2010 11:50
22 July 2010
'Toxic trio' triggers gut disease
By Helen Briggs
Health reporter, BBC News
The precise cause of the immune reaction that leads to coeliac disease
has been discovered.
Three key substances in the gluten found in wheat, rye and barley
trigger the digestive condition, UK and Australian researchers say.
This gives a potential new target for developing treatments and even a
vaccine, they believe.
Coeliac disease is caused by an intolerance to gluten found in foods
like bread, pasta and biscuits.
It is thought to affect around 1 in every 100 people in the UK,
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The link between gluten and coeliac disease was first established 60
years ago but scientists have struggled to pinpoint the precise
component in gluten that triggers it.
The research, published in the journal, Science Translational Medicine
[http://stm.sciencemag.org/], studied 200 patients with coeliac
disease attending clinics in Oxford and Melbourne.
The volunteers were asked to eat bread, rye muffins or boiled barley.
Six days later they had blood samples taken to measure their immune
response to thousands of different gluten fragments, or peptides.
Continue reading the main story [#skip_feature_02] Start QuoteIt's an
important piece of the jigsaw but a lot of further work remains so
nobody should be expecting a practical solution in their surgery
within the next 10 years."
End Quote Sarah Sleet Coeliac UK
The tests identified 90 peptides that caused some level of immune
reaction, but three were found to be particularly toxic.
Professor Bob Anderson, head of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of
Medical Research [http://www.wehi.edu.au/about_us] in Melbourne,
Australia, said: "These three components account for the majority of
the immune response to gluten that is observed in people with coeliac
Coeliac disease can be managed with a gluten-free diet but this is
often a challenge for patients. Nearly half still have damage to their
intestines five years after starting a gluten-free diet.
Professor Anderson said one potential new therapy is already being
developed, using immunotherapy to expose people with coeliac disease
to tiny amounts of the three toxic peptides.
Early results of the trial are expected in the next few months.