UK Scientists have identified a link between coeliac disease and type 1 diabetes. The study, partly funded by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, showed that both conditions shared a common genetic origin, which suggests that they may also be brought on by similar environmental factors. This led the researchers to claim that the protein glutten, which is known to cause coeliac disease, could also be a trigger for type 1 diabetes.
The research, carried out by the University of Cambridge, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry and which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that both conditions are due to a malfunctioning immune system. A total of 20,000 tissue samples were studied in order to monitor genetic similarities between the two conditions, and seven chromosome regions that are shared were found.
These regions may help regulate the immune system in attacking the beta cells in both the pancreas and the small intestine.