Celiac disease is a condition in which the immune system is abnormally sensitive to gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder; autoimmune disorders occur when the immune system malfunctions and attacks the body's own tissues and organs. Without a strict, lifelong gluten-free diet, inflammation resulting from immune system overactivity may cause a wide variety of signs and symptoms involving many parts of the body.
The risk of developing celiac disease is increased by certain variants of the HLA-DQA1 and HLA-DQB1 genes. These genes provide instructions for making proteins that play a critical role in the immune system. The HLA-DQA1 and HLA-DQB1 genes belong to a family of genes called the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) complex. The HLA complex helps the immune system distinguish the body's own proteins from proteins made by foreign invaders such as viruses and bacteria.
Celiac disease is a common disorder. Its prevalence has been estimated at about 1 in 100 people worldwide.
Celiac disease tends to cluster in families. Parents, siblings, or children (first-degree relatives) of people with celiac disease have between a 4 and 15 percent chance of developing the disorder. However, the inheritance pattern is unknown.
Published Date: April 01, 2019Published By: National Institutes of Health