Scientists Have Found an ‘Off Switch’ For Celiac’s Disease

Bread lovers, rejoice! There may soon be an efficient treatment for your celiac’s disease that will allow you to indulge your love of pasta once more.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that affects by some estimates nearly 1 in 100 people. Celiac disease symptoms are triggered by gluten, a protein found in wheat and related plants, but gluten doesn’t act alone to cause the digestive symptoms that patients suffer. Rather, gluten induces an overactive immune response when it’s modified by the enzyme transglutaminase 2, or TG2, in the small intestine. New research published in the Feb. 23 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry identifies an enzyme that turns off TG2, potentially paving the way for new treatments for celiac disease.

“Currently, therapies to treat people with celiac disease are lacking. The best approach right now is just a strict adherence to a lifelong gluten-free diet,” said Michael Yi, a chemical engineering graduate student at Stanford University who led the new study. “Perhaps the reason behind this is our relatively poor understanding of TG2.”

The biochemistry of how TG2 interacts with gluten and induces an immune response has been well studied, but more basic mysteries remain, for example how TG2 behaves in people without celiac disease. Chaitan Khosla, the professor at…

Sasha Harriet

Sasha Harriet

As content editor, I get to do what I love everyday. Tweet, share and promote the best content our tools find on a daily basis.

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Sasha Harriet

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