Autoimmune Risk Up for Relatives of Those With Celiac Disease

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Autoimmune Risk Up for Relatives of Those With Celiac Disease
Autoimmune Risk Up for Relatives of Those With Celiac Disease

MONDAY, July 20, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- First-degree relatives and spouses of those with celiac disease have increased risk for nonceliac autoimmune disease, according to a study published in the July issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Louise Emilsson, M.D., Ph.D., from Vårdcentralen Värmlands Nysäter in Sweden, and colleagues examined the risk of nonceliac autoimmune disease in first-degree relatives and spouses of people with celiac disease. On the basis of biopsy reports of villous atrophy, celiac disease was identified in 29,096 individuals who were matched with up to five controls based on sex, age, county, and calendar year (144,522 controls). All 84,648 first-degree relatives and spouses of those with celiac disease and 430,942 controls were included in analyses.

During a median follow-up of 10.8 years, the researchers found that 3.9 percent of the first-degree relatives of patients with celiac disease and 3.0 percent of controls had an autoimmune disease other than celiac disease. The risk of nonceliac autoimmune disease was increased for first-degree relatives and spouses of those with celiac disease versus controls (hazard ratios, 1.28 and 1.20, respectively). There was no difference in risk estimates for nonceliac autoimmune disease for first-degree relatives and spouses (interaction test, P = 0.11).

"In addition to genetic factors, environmental factors and ascertainment bias might contribute to the increased risk of autoimmunity in first-degree relatives of individuals with celiac disease," the authors write.

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