A team of scientists may have found a way to treat Coeliac disease, gluten intolerance and Inflammatory Bowel Disease, which were all previously considered to be untreatable conditions.
The team has been able to show that Elafin, a human protein most people produce, plays a key role in the way the gut reacts to gluten. Coeliac disease is an auto-immune disease in which the body cannot properly process gluten. As a result the stomach and gut becomes inflammed, which leads to destruction of the gut barrier. The gut barrier is essential for the proper absorbtion of nutrients into the body.
Those with Coeliac disease have less Elafin than healthy patients. Elafin helps to stop this inflammatory reaction, which could significantly reduce the damaged caused to the gut as a result of Coeliac disease and other gluten intolerances.
The team were able to deliver Elafin to the guts of gluten-intolerant mice by using harmless probiotic bacteria to transport it. The Elafin was able to significantly reduce the inflammatory reaction, showing that it may be possible to treat Coeliac disease and other gluten intolerances in humans in the near future.
You can read more about this study at the ScienceDaily website.