It is estimated that one in 100 people suffer from coeliac disease, an autoimmune disease with no known treatment other than eating a gluten free diet. For those with celiac disease, eating gluten containing food can set off a set of symptoms, including nausea and vomiting, often very quickly after ingestion. Until now it has been unclear exactly why this happens.
Researchers from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, University of Oslo, Massachusetts General Hospital, University of Chicago, and ImmusanT have had a breakthrough. They have discovered that increased levels of interleukin-2 (IL-2), a protein produced by the T-cells of the immune system, get dumped into the bloodstream shortly after exposure to gluten, resulting in nausea and vomiting.
In the future this discovery may provide a new diagnostic tool for doctors. At present patients suspected to have celiac disease are required to continue eating gluten for a number of weeks prior to an invasive biopsy of the small intestine. In the future this new knowledge may allow doctors to ask suspected celiac sufferers to ingest one small meal of gluten, and then compare their blood IL-2 levels before and after ingestion, which would greatly improve diagnosis rates.
Source: Science News
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