NIH-funded Study Finding: Risk of Lymphoma Higher in Celiac Disease Patients with Ongoing Intestinal Damage
Researchers have found that people with celiac disease have a higher risk of developing lymphoma than the general population, a finding consistent with previous studies. Researchers also found that people with celiac disease who had persistent intestinal damage—also called villous atrophy—had an even higher risk of lymphoma compared with those who had intestinal healing. The study, partially funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), was published in the August 6 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.
The study included 7,625 celiac disease patients who had follow-up intestinal biopsies 6 months to 5 years after initial diagnosis. Patients were followed for an average of 9 years after the follow-up biopsy. Overall, patients with celiac disease had an annual lymphoma risk that was nearly three times higher than the general population. Patients with ongoing villous atrophy were three times more likely to develop lymphoma compared with patients whose biopsies showed intestinal healing.
NIH Awards Human Microbiome Project Phase II Grants
To better understand how and why alteration of the normal microbiome at various body sites promotes diseases, the NIH will fund three innovative research projects for the next 3 years. These projects constitute the second phase of the Human Microbiome Project (HMP), begun in 2007. The first phase of the HMP focused on the composition and genetic potential of the microbial communities of major regions of the body and how these communities differ in health and for various diseases.
Second-phase research teams will use genomics and other “omics” technologies to measure the biochemical activities of these microbial communities. Researchers hope to determine how microbes influence the physiology of the human host within which they reside.
One joint project will examine the microbes in the gut and nose and determine how alteration in certain microorganisms may trigger the development of diseases such as diabetes. A second joint project will assess the populations and physiological activities of gut microbes in people with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases will manage these grants.
A third project will study bacteria that live in the vagina and assess the roles these bacteria play in health and disease in pregnant women as well as in their babies, particularly for preterm birth. The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development will manage this grant.
Study Finding: Celiac Disease Appears More Severe in Patients with Anemia
Researchers have found that people with celiac disease who presented with anemia had more severe disease compared with celiac disease patients presenting with diarrhea. Diarrhea is a classic symptom of celiac disease, whereas anemia is considered to be an atypical manifestation. The study findings were published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.
The researchers studied data from 727 patients with celiac disease who were evaluated at a tertiary referral center. Severity of celiac disease was assessed by the degree of villous atrophy and several clinical and serologic parameters. Researchers found that 77 percent of the patients with celiac disease presented with diarrhea and 23 percent presented with anemia. Patients who presented with anemia were twice as likely to have severe villous atrophy and low bone density compared with patients who presented with diarrhea. Presentation with anemia was also associated with a higher level of anti-tissue transglutaminase, an antibody associated with celiac disease.
The researchers also noted sex-specific differences regarding the link between anemia and the various features of celiac disease. Anemia in women with celiac disease was associated with lower cholesterol levels.