Hi dear coeliacs,

Today I came across this publication at the American Journal of Epidemiology:  “Infections in early life and development of celiac disease” 

The group studied around 300,000 children from Bavaria, Germany and classified these kids based on sex, month of birth, number of healthcare visits prior to CD diagnosis. The investigators shown a link between gastrointestinal infection at early life and CD disease. Based on infection symptoms (they focus on respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms) and causes (viral and bacterial) the researchers concluded their results.

At a median age of 5 years, 0.3% of the kids in this study were diagnosed with CD and among this group 95.5% developed CD after the first year of life. They linked this CD development with gastrointestinal infection.

“Repeated respiratory and particularly gastrointestinal infections during the first year of life were associated with increased cumulative risk of CD in later life”

It is still unclear if early infections are the trigger of CD or contributors to susceptibility. There are some mechanisms that have been proposed why early infections lead to CD like alteration of the microbiome or induction of specific immune responses such as type I interferons.

Recently I watched a talk given by a professor of infection and immunity from EMBL Australia about antibiotics in early life . The study was huge where they injected antibiotics to the pregnant mice or gave antibiotics to the baby mice soon after delivery. The intestinal microbiome was totally messed up compared to control. They will continue this study in humans and preliminary data already show that this also happens with mother and kid! It is so exciting and I think the more people understand our gastrointestinal microorganism more we will learn about potential triggers of disease in later life.