Immune Imbalance May Cause Celiac Disease, Study Shows

New research may uncover the cause of celiac disease

With increased levels of Interleukin 15, a compound responsible for the maintenance of cellular immune responses, development of celiac disease is more probable, according to a new study published in the journal Nature.

Celiac disease, a digestive disease associated with gluten-rich food intolerance, is said to be caused by an aberrant immune response to the protein gluten. The immune response is probably due to the imbalance of compounds like Interleukin 15, the study suggests.

Lead author Dr. Bana Jabri of the Digestive Disease Research Core Center at the University of Chicago explained that imbalances in the intestinal nature can certainly lead to some food intolerances.

The effect of Interleukin 15 levels to the development of celiac disease was supported when the researchers found that thwarting the compound in mice helps deter the condition’s progress. On the other hand, when the researchers revved up the levels of Interleukin 15 in mice, early symptoms of celiac disease emerged.

The study further determined the role of Vitamin A, or the byproduct of the vitamin called retinoic acid, in the inflammatory process of the condition. The symptoms in the mice deteriorated once the vitamin was combined with the immune system compound.

Jabri said that though the imbalance of the Interleukin 15 is yet to be fully understood.

This research may provide future studies on the potential use of drugs that block Interleukin 15 for celiac disease patients. About 1 percent of the U.S. population is affected by this disease.