Documentation of autoimmunity, while coming to the forefront of research(1), goes back quite some time. Here, researchers report on a 15 year old boy affected by silent Celiac Disease (CD), abnormalities in glycoregulation with autoantibodies specific to type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) (ICA: islet cell antibodies) and GAD 65 (autoantibodies against glutamic acid decarboxylase)(2). In this case, after 6 months on a gluten free diet, normalization of glycoregulation and disappearance of the immunological markers of pre-diabetes were observed. After 36 months of follow-up, patient showed normal insulin response to an IV glucose tolerance test, and no markers of autoimmunity were seen. Their findings seemed to confirm the theory that undiagnosed celiac (or possibly gluten sensitivity) can induce an autoimmune process against pancreatic beta cells, and that following a gluten free diet, immunological markers for T1DM will disappear. Recent research has shown that the gliadin fraction in gluten-containing grains is the instigator leading to autoimmunity in those who develop CD, and that gluten plays a role in T1DM pathogenesis, and early introduction of gluten to infants has been associated with an increased risk of islet autoimmunity. (1)
(1) Leonard MM, et al. (2015) Managing coeliac disease in patients with diabetes. Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, 17:3-8. doi: 10.1111/dom.12310
(2) Banin P, et al. Regression of autoimmunity and abnormal glucose homeostasis in an adolescent boy with silent coeliac disease. Acta Paediatr. 2002; 91 (10):1141-3.