Reference Number: 60
Celiac disease (CD) is an autoimmune enteropathy triggered by the ingestion of gluten. Gluten-sensitive individuals (GS) cannot tolerate gluten and may develop gastrointestinal symptoms similar to those in CD, but the overall clinical picture is generally less severe and is not accompanied by the concurrence of tissue transglutaminase autoantibodies or autoimmune comorbidities. By studying and comparing mucosal expression of genes associated with intestinal barrier function, as well as innate and adaptive immunity in CD compared with GS, we sought to better understand the similarities and differences between these two gluten-associated disorders
CD, GS and healthy, gluten-tolerant individuals were enrolled in this study. Intestinal permeability was evaluated using a lactulose and mannitol probe, and mucosal biopsy specimens were collected to study the expression of genes involved in barrier function and immunity.
Unlike CD, GS is not associated with increased intestinal permeability. In fact, this was significantly reduced in GS compared with controls (P = 0.0308), paralleled by significantly increased expression of claudin (CLDN) 4 (P = 0.0286). Relative to controls, adaptive immunity markers interleukin (IL)-6 (P = 0.0124) and IL-21 (P = 0.0572) were expressed at higher levels in CD but not in GS, while expression of the innate immunity marker Toll-like receptor (TLR) 2 was increased in GS but not in CD (P = 0.0295). Finally, expression of the T-regulatory cell marker FOXP3 was significantly reduced in GS relative to controls (P = 0.0325) and CD patients (P = 0.0293).
SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS STUDY
This study provides a comprehensive overview of the difference in the clinical pathology of two gluten-associated disorders, CD and GS. It states that besides CD and wheat allergy, there are cases of gluten reactions in which neither allergic nor autoimmune mechanisms are involved. These are generally defined as gluten sensitivity (GS). Some individuals who experience distress when eating gluten-containing products and show improvement when following a gluten-free diet may have GS instead of CD. GS patients most often are unable to tolerate gluten and develop an adverse reaction when eating gluten that usually does not lead to small intestinal damage and while the gastrointestinal symptoms in GS may resemble those associated with CD, the overall clinical picture is generally less severe and is not accompanied by autoimmune disease.