Research ArticlesImmunology

Reovirus infection triggers inflammatory responses to dietary antigens and development of celiac disease

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Science  07 Apr 2017:
Vol. 356, Issue 6333, pp. 44-50
DOI: 10.1126/science.aah5298

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  • RE: Cooperative mechanisms in human illness
    • Leslie M. Klevay, Prof. Emeritus, Department of Internal Medicine University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences

    Bouziat et al.(1) found that reovirus infection may disrupt intestinal immune homeostasis and initiate loss of oral tolerance to gluten leading to celiac disease. The findings may explain the epidemiologic association between viral infection and onset of food sensitivity(2).
    Three decades ago(3, 4) it was suggested that four classes of etiologic agents---toxicity, heredity, infection, deficiency---plus cooperations between and among members of the classes can explain much variability of human disease (a sequel is currently under editorial review).
    Here reovirus seems to change gluten from an innocuous dietary component into a toxin. The complicated mechanism is somewhat different from the original infectious intoxications described (3), e.g., in cholera the organism elaborates an enterotoxin that produces illness directly by inhibiting sodium absorption causing great, and often fatal, loss of fluid and electrolytes.
    Some patients with celiac disease absorb too little dietary copper and become deficient(5, 6). In the original classification scheme, celiac disease would have been considered a toxic deficiency(3) similar to Wernicke’s encephalopathy in which excessive ingestion of ethanol induces thiamine deficiency. Now some celiac disease can be considered a three-way cooperation among an infection, a toxin and a deficiency. Other three- and four-way cooperations have been identified(3).
    Members of the four classes of known, etiologic agent...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.
  • RE: Interesting article

    Hello, this is an extremely interesting article. I'd be curious to know if links between the gut and brain can be altered by viral infection. Can, for example reovirus, or other virus, infection amplify or create psychiatric conditions? This may suggest that it might be possible in future to create vaccines, not only for celiac disease, but for bipolar disorder (which I suffer from) and other disorders. Truly exciting work.

    Competing Interests: None declared.

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