Type 1 diabetes and coeliac disease share genetic origin

Thu, 11 Dec 2008
Latest research reported in the New England Journal of Medicine claims to have identified seven chromosome regions which are shared between type 1 diabetes and coeliac disease . The study also reports that the genetic similarities shared between the two diseases suggests they may also be triggered by similar environmental factors which increases the possibility of the protein glucose known to cause coeliac disease, also triggering type 1 diabetes .

Coeliac disease attacks the small intestine. While Type 1 diabetes causes the body to attack the beta cells of the pancreas, which stops it being able to produce insulin . The anatomies of both organs are directly related as the gut immune system has connections with the pancreatic lymph nodes, which has been linked to inflammation of the pancreas and the destruction of beta cells.

Karen Addington, of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, which helped fund the study, has reportedly commented that "These studies demonstrate that type 1 diabetes and coeliac disease share far greater genetic overlap than had been appreciated; which helps explain the high prevalence of both conditions occurring simultaneously in an individual and may provide new avenues for understanding the cause and mechanisms of both conditions."
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