[Left, normal villi. Right, damaged villi from ingestion of gluten. Credit: Vanderbilt Health]
Currently, there is no known cure, but a recent study published in Science sheds more light on what may be causing its symptoms. Long noncoding RNAs, abbreviated lncRNAs (or "junk RNA"), regulate various biological processes in our body. The study characterized and studied a specific lncRNA, lnc13, that plays a large part in symptoms of the disease. According to the study,
"Upon stimulation, lnc13 levels are reduced, thereby allowing increased expression of the repressed genes. Lnc13 levels are significantly decreased in small intestinal biopsy samples from patients with celiac disease, which suggests that down-regulation of lnc13 may contribute to the inflammation seen in this disease. Furthermore, the lnc13 disease-associated variant binds hnRNPD less efficiently than its wild-type counterpart, thus helping to explain how these single-nucleotide polymorphisms contribute to celiac disease." (Castellanos-Rubio et al., 2016)
[Figures from study. Credit: Castellanos-Rubio et al. 2016, J Sci]
I think this is a great advancement for a more in-depth understanding of this disease, by giving us a better look into the gene expressions that contribute to this disease. Hopefully in the near future, knowing more about lnc13 will allow professionals in the field of health science research to develop a method for targeting and treating, or just diagnosing sequences of DNA that contribute to this disease, possibly leading to a cure.
Original Article: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/308509.php