| GEO Health|
| Celiac causing peptide found: Study|
| Updated at: 1208 PST, Sunday, July 25, 2010|
LONDON: While the underlying cause of gluten intolerance in celiac sufferers still remains unknown, UK and Australian researchers claim they have discovered the culprit.
Celiac disease, an autoimmune disease caused by an intolerance to gluten found in wheat, rye and barley, is characterized by diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, recurrent stomach pain, tiredness, headaches, weight loss and mouth ulcers.
Following a gluten-free diet is the best technique to overcome the debilitating symptoms of the disease. Immunotherapy has also shown promising results in treating the sufferers.
According to a study published in Science Translational Medicine, from among the 90 peptides found in the gluten three can activate pathogenic T cells, contributing to overactive immune reaction and subsequently triggering the digestive condition.
One of these peptides was reported to be responsible for the toxicity shared by wheat, barley and rye, the study found.
"Our findings show that pathogenic T cells in celiac disease show limited diversity, and therefore suggest that peptide-based therapeutics for this disease and potentially other strongly human leukocyte antigen-restricted immune diseases should be possible," said lead researcher Jason A. Tye-Din.
Scientists are optimistic that their finding would give new target for developing treatments and even a vaccine for celiac disease.
"It's an important piece of the jigsaw but a lot of further work remains so nobody should be expecting a practical solution in their surgery within the next 10 years," said Sarah Sleet, Chief Executive of the charity Coeliac UK.