Antibiotic exposure and celiac disease

By Jason Clevenger

Summary: Researchers from the U.S. and Sweden published results of a study examining antibiotic use as a risk factor for subsequent development of celiac disease. The researchers used the Swedish national medical database to identify almost 3,000 patients with biopsy-proven celiac disease. They also looked at 260 patients who had positive blood tests for celiac disease but not the flattened villi needed for diagnosis. A third group was made up of patients who had intestinal inflammation. The authors compared the previous antibiotic use of these three groups of patients to that of the general population without any sign of celiac disease. They found that all three groups had a history of more antibiotic use than the general population

Conclusion: The authors suggest that antibiotic use disrupts intestinal bacteria and may be related to the eventual development of celiac disease. This finding adds to the growing body of literature suggesting a relationship between the human immune system and bacteria in the gut.


[1] “Antibiotic exposure and the development of coeliac disease: a nationwide case-control study.”, Mårild K, Ye W, Lebwohl B, Green PH, Blaser MJ, Card T, Ludvigsson JF, #BMC gastroenterology# 2013 Jul 8;13:109.

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