Here’s some more insight into celiac disease. Read an earlier 3healthymonkeys article on it here.
There are three major contributing factors to celiac disease.
- Genetic variants of histocompatibility leukocyte antigens (HLAs), specifically, HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8, seem to cause a heightened immune sensitivity to gluten. 95% of people with celiac disease have at least one of those variants, compared to 30-40% in the general population.
- CD patients also tend to have other genetic predispositions, such as a propensity for overproducing the immune stimulant IL-15 and for harboring hyperactive immune cells that prime the immune system to attack the gut in response to gluten.
- Zonulin is a protein which affects the permeability of the small intestine. In order for the gluten to trigger the immune response, it need to slip through the cracks in the normally well sealed lining of the small intestine. Gluten itself may trigger abnormally high levels of zonulin to be secreted, possibly due to genetics.
Disrupting the part of the process which allows gluten to enter the bloodstream, for example, through a zonulin inhibitor, is an active area of clinical research.