Gut Microorganisms Cause Gluten-Induced Pathology in Mouse Model of Celiac Disease

Posted by: | December 1, 2023 | Comments

Early exposure to antibiotics, resulting in microbial imbalance, exacerbates response to gluten, according to research published in The American Journal of Pathology

Investigators interested in celiac disease, a chronic gastrointestinal disorder caused by an immunologic response to the ingestion of gluten, have wondered why only 2% to 5% of genetically susceptible individuals develop the disease. Attention has focused on whether environmental determinants, including gut microorganisms, contribute to the development of celiac disease. Using a humanized mouse model of gluten sensitivity, a new study in The American Journal of Pathology found that the gut microbiome can play an important role in the body’s response to gluten.

“Importantly, our data argue that the recognized increase in celiac disease prevalence in the general population over the last 50 years could be driven, at least in part, by perturbations in intestinal microbial ecology. Specific microbiota-based therapies may aid in the prevention or treatment of celiac disease in subjects with moderate genetic risk,” explained lead investigator Elena F. Verdu, MD, PhD, Associate Professor, Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Institute, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON (Canada).

Using mice that express the human DQ8 gene, which makes them genetically susceptible to inflammatory responses to gluten, researchers compared immune responses and pathology in the guts of mice that differed in their gut microorganisms. The three groups were germ-free mice, clean–specific-pathogen-free (SPF) mice with microbiota free of opportunistic pathogens and Proteobacteria, and conventional SPF mice that were colonized with a mixture of microorganisms including opportunistic pathogens and Proteobacteria. For example, the microbial composition of conventional SPF mice included Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, and Helicobacter, but the clean SPF had none.

Read more at: Elsevier






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