Diabetes linked to coeliac disease

Diabetes and coeliac disease share a genetic link, analysis of DNA samples from over 25,000 people suggests.

Insulin injection (Photograph: J H Lancy/HML)

Researchers from the University of Cambridge and Barts and The London School of Medicine and Denistry identified seven chromosome regions shared between type 1 diabetes and coeliac disease.

The findings suggest common mechanisms causing both coeliac disease and type 1 diabetes, the researchers argue. ‘We did not expect to see this very high degree of shared genetic risk factors,' Professor David van Heel, from Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, said.

Professor John Todd, from the University of Cambridge, added: ‘The next step is to understand how these susceptibility genes affect the immune system, and to keep exploring environmental factors that might alter the risk of type 1 diabetes, which results from an incredibly complex interaction between nature and nurture.'


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