Virus Could Trigger Celiac Disease
A new study suggests a common virus could increase the risk for celiac disease in people genetically susceptible to the condition. People with celiacs are unable to eat products containing gluten—a protein found in several types of grain—without causing severe damage to the digestive tract.
In a recent two-part study, researchers discovered a link between reovirus—a common childhood infection that is usually considered harmless and causes only mild symptoms—and celiac disease in test subjects with an increased genetic risk. For the first part of the study, researchers infected animal subjects with reovirus and then exposed them to foods containing gluten. The animals developed an immune system response to the protein—celiac disease.
In the second part of the study, researchers examined various virus antibody levels in groups of people and found that those with celiac disease have two- to five-times higher levels of reovirus antibodies than people with celiacs. This study doesn’t prove a causal link; more research is needed.
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