You probably know that HLA genes - specifically, HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8 - are associated with celiac disease.* Now, researchers have found evidence that another gene may play a role in a celiac patient’s risk of complications from the disease.
Researchers in Italy compared blood tests from 61 adults with celiac disease to those of 69 controls to determine whether specific gene combinations are associated with an increased susceptibility to celiac disease complications like cancer and refractory celiac disease. In particular, the researchers looked at killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR)/HLA gene combinations.
According to the study, the researchers found statistically significant evidence that KIR/HLA gene combinations may be involved in the susceptibility to clinical complications, such as tumors or refractory disease, in patients with celiac disease who follow a gluten-free diet.
For more on this study, read the abstract.
*It is important to note that while these genes are associated with celiac disease, having one or both of the genes does not guarantee that you have or will develop celiac disease. A small intestinal biopsy is necessary to confirm a celiac diagnosis.