Animal research models for celiac disease

By Jason Clevenger

Animal models are routinely used by researchers to understand diseases and to evaluate potential treatments, and celiac disease is no exception. Celiac disease researchers have been working with dogs and Rhesus monkeys, which may both develop antibodies to gliadin as well as villous atrophy in the small intestine.

Efforts are ongoing to develop strains of mice that have aspects of celiac disease. Considering their relatively low cost and the availability of well-developed genetic engineering techniques, mice are likely to play an important role in future research on celiac disease as well as gluten sensitivity.