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Wheat consumption and diabetes

An abnormal immune response to wheat proteins in some people could contribute to the development of type 1 diabetes.

Wheat consumption and diabetes

An abnormal immune response to wheat proteins in some people could contribute to the development of type 1 diabetes.

The immune system has to find the perfect balance to defend the body against foreign invaders without hurting itself or overreacting to the environment. This is particularly challenging in the gut with an abundance of food and bacteria.

Researchers studied 42 Canadians with type 1 diabetes to investigate the association between immune system dysfunction, gut barriers and wheat proteins. The immune response of certain blood cells (peripheral CD3+ T-lymphocytes) to wheat proteins, ovalbumin, giladin, alpha-giladin 33-mer peptide, tetanus toxoid, and phytohaemagglutinin were measured in all the participants.

It was found that 20 participants had T-lymphocytes that overreacted to wheat. The researchers also identified genes associated with this abnormal immune response.

The findings suggested that people with certain genes may be more likely to develop an overreaction to wheat and possibly other food in the gut, and this may tip the balance of the immune system and make the body more likely to develop other immune problems, including type 1 diabetes.

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