May 12, 2017 Is International ME/CFS and FM Awareness Day
International ME/CFS and FM Awareness Day is May 12th, 2017. Jody Smith shares some information about upcoming events and ways you can be heard ...
Discuss the article on the Forums.

Similarities between celiac disease and IBD: New treatment for both

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by Waverunner, Apr 1, 2014.

  1. Waverunner

    Waverunner Senior Member

    It's fascinating how we improve our understanding of disease more and more. It seems that celiac disease and IBD patients lack the protein elafin. When gluten sensitive mice were fed probiotics which produced elafin, no inflammation occured and their the intestinal barrier was not weakened.

    Does anyone have an idea how patients could get access to this protein or the respective probiotic?

    A molecule found in healthy people may help those with celiac disease. The newly identified molecule, a protein called elafin, tames an enzyme that plays a role in inflammation of the small bowel caused by eating certain grains.

    An estimated one in 100 people suffers from celiac disease. It is marked by inflammation in the small intestine triggered when they eat a hard-to-digest protein called gluten, which is found in wheat, barley and rye and most cereals. The autoimmune disorder causes abdominal pain, bloating, malnutrition and anemia, and increases the risk of cancer.

    Millions more individuals are gluten sensitive. That is, they test negative for celiac disease but their digestive enzymes cannot break down gluten, and that triggers bouts of abdominal cramps, pain and diarrhea.

    Constant exposure to gluten causes the lining of the intestine to become thin. The only treatment for celiac disease is extremely difficult, it's life-long avoidance of bread, pasta and foods containing gluten so the bowel can heal.

    But there may soon be a way to eliminate the gastrointestinal distress.

    Research scientist Elena Verdu of McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, says experts already knew that patients with another digestive disorder called inflammatory bowel disease have abnormally low levels of the protein elafin.

    “And therefore we set to examine the levels of elafin in biopsies from patients with celiac disease and in patients that were one year on a gluten-free diet and also in patients without celiac disease. And we discovered that patients with celiac disease had decreased levels of elafin in the upper gut," said Verdu.

    In healthy individuals, elafin interacts with an enzyme called transglutaminase 2, preventing the inflammatory reaction experienced by celiac and gluten sensitive people.

    McMaster researchers, in collaboration with scientists at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, did experiments with non-celiac, gluten sensitive mice. As described in The American Journal of Gastroenterology, they gave the rodents a helpful food bacterium called Lactococcus lactis, genetically engineered to produce elafin in the gut.

    “So when these mice were given the Lactococcus lactis with the elafin and they were challenged with gluten, they did not develop these abnormalities. So, they did not have the leaky barrier [gut], they did not have the inflammation, they did not have any of these alternations. They were as the normal mice that were not given gluten," said Verdu.

    Vendu says an elafin-containing probiotic could add flexibility to a gluten-free diet, but to be protective, it would have to be taken as a dietary supplement before each meal.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2014
    NK17, Valentijn, xchocoholic and 4 others like this.
  2. Aileen

    Aileen Senior Member

    they gave a genetically engineered Lactococcus lactis to the mice. That suggests that they don't know of any that naturally produce it. :( One might try contacting the author of the paper to enquire though.

    And I thought this gut microbiome stuff was complicated as it was ... now we have to learn about genetically engineered stuff too?!?! :eek:
    Waverunner likes this.
  3. natasa778

    natasa778 Senior Member

    how interesting! it does not seem to be commercially available atm :( The probiotic in question was engineered to produce elafin - the usual lac lactis will not contain elafin

    btw looks like elafin has good antiviral properties too!
    Waverunner likes this.
  4. aimossy

    aimossy Senior Member

    There is a tablet that's now available for some of enzymes to take when you know your at risk when eating out...I forget the name. Its not this stuff mentioned here which is really great and interesting.
    Its a tablet with heaps of enzymes to help digest and break down any gluten before it hits the small intestine I think but I could have some info wrong there.
  5. Waverunner

    Waverunner Senior Member

    Ye, the probiotic won't be available anytime soon but maybe there are ways to supply elafin orally? Time will tell.

See more popular forum discussions.

Share This Page