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Minerva Medica 2002 December;93(6):457-70


language: Italian

Possible animal models of endocrine, immune and reproductive complications of celiac disease

Stazi A. V., Mantovani A.


This paper underlines the need of developing animal models to study the diverse complications of celiac disease (CD). CD is a multifactorial condition requiring both an exogenous element (gluten) and complex genetic factors; moreover, CD is associated to several endocrine, immune and reproductive diseases, whose onset may be influenced by other environmental factors as well. In particular, the intestinal absorption of exogenous factors may be important for the outcome of CD as well as of the associated diabetes and/or thyroiditis. Presently, there are no adequate animal models for the systemic complications of CD; in particular, there are no gene knock-out models. However, models are available as regards either gluten enteropathy, such as Irish Setter and Balb/c e BDF1 mouse strains, and endocrine-immune diseases associated with CD, such as BB rats and NOD mice. A deeper exploitation of the available models could provide important information on the factors modulating intestinal permeability, the pathogenesis of extraintestinal alterations and the interactions between gluten and other metabolic, nutritional and environmental factors. The elaboration of in vivo models requires a sound basis of knowledge at molecular level, as well as the modulation of the metabolic alteration through relevant exogenous factors, first of all the dietary assumption of gluten. Therefore, the availability of experimental models may provide significant advances on the prevention and treatment, allowing a complete analysis of affected organisms as well as the use of pharmacological and/or immune stimuli; more information may be also derived on the possible long-term effects of gluten traces in CD-affected subjects, thus reducing the need for lengthy clinical studies.

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