Coeliac disease can cause irreversible changes to immune cells

T cell
Scanning electron micrograph of a human T lymphocyte (also called a T cell) from the immune system of a healthy donor. Credit: NIAID

Immune cells in the bowel of people who suffer with coeliac disease are permanently replaced by a new subset of cells that promote inflammation, suggests a new study involving researchers at Cardiff University.

This permanent 'immunological scarring' lays the foundation for the disease to progress and could have long-term implications for gut health in affected patients.

The results also suggest that the same process could be contributing to other chronic intestinal disorders, such as ulcerative colitis.

Dr James McLaren, from Cardiff University's School of Medicine, said: "In , T cells found in the bowel react to gluten and cause inflammation, which damages the lining of the bowel.

"Under normal circumstances, T cells have a protective role in the bowel and form a stable population. However, in celiac disease, they contribute to the inflammatory process, causing short-term symptoms and increasing the risk of developing certain types of bowel cancer.

"Our new study suggests that even though short-term symptoms, such as diarrhoea and , can be alleviated by removing gluten from the diet, long-term implications may remain, because 'tissue-healing' T cells in the bowel are permanently replaced by 'pro-inflammatory' T ."

Coeliac disease is common and affects one in 100 people. The international team hope the new findings will help inform the treatment of chronic intestinal disorders.

The research 'Chronic inflammation permanently reshapes tissue-resident immunity in ' is published in Cell.

The team includes researchers from the University of Chicago, Cardiff University, Monash University, CHU Sainte-Justine Research Centre, Leiden University, University of Groningen, and Columbia University.


Explore further

Cells that destroy the intestine

More information: Toufic Mayassi et al. Chronic Inflammation Permanently Reshapes Tissue-Resident Immunity in Celiac Disease, Cell (2019). DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2018.12.039
Journal information: Cell

Provided by Cardiff University
Citation: Coeliac disease can cause irreversible changes to immune cells (2019, February 14) retrieved 20 April 2019 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2019-02-coeliac-disease-irreversible-immune-cells.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
267 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more