Coeliac link to diabetes

  • Niall Hunter, Editor

A new genetic link between coeliac disease and diabetes has been discovered by researchers at TCD.

The Dublin scientists, in collaboration with others in the UK and the Netherlands, have discovered seven gene regions linked to causing coeliac disease.

The discovery is expected to lead to a better understanding of coeliac disease and ultimately to the development of new treatments. 

Coeliac disease is a condition where the intestine has an abnormal immune reaction to the wheat protein gluten, and sufferers of the disease have to avoid all foods containing wheat, barley, and rye flour. 

Europe, and in particular Ireland, have a very high incidence of the disease, with up to one in every hundred people developing it. 

The new research identified seven new gene regions predisposing to coeliac disease,

Of particular importance was that four of these genetic regions are also implicated in a predisposition to type I (insulin-dependent) diabetes, indicating that these discoveries may have implications for a range of diseases.

One of the researchers, Dr Ross Mc Manus of TCD's Institute for Molecular Medicine, said the findings underline the power of new genetic approaches to understand the mechanisms behind these types of common diseases.

The research was published in the journal Nature Genetics has more information on coeliac disease at 

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