Research shows role of thymus in celiac

Researchers of the University Medical Centre Groningen have found 40 places on DNA that increase the risk of celiac disease. In those areas genes are situated that control the thymus. The researchers, led by professor in genetics Cisca Wijmenga,  publish their findings in the journal of Nature Genetics today.

The researchers, in cooperation with colleagues from among other UK, Italy and Finland, compared the DNA of 10,000 celiac patients with that of a control group of 5,000 persons. For each person half a million places were checked on the DNA, areas that are known to be different for each person (the so called single nucleotide polymorphisms or SNP’s).

Prof. dr. Cisca Wijmenga: “The gene expression has never been viewed on such a large scale. We now have a unique set of about 1800 RNA-samples of people of whom we also have the DNA”.

The celiac research has been made possible by among other the Dutch Celiac Association and the Celiac Disease Consortium, a genomics centre of the Dutch Genomics Initiative.

Source: University Medical Centre Groningen