Zonulin –Possible Biomarker for Gluten Sensitivity?

A recent abstract indicated that there are high levels of zonulin in patients with gluten sensitivity as well as in patients with celiac disease.  These results are preliminary but could indicate a potential biomarker for this condition.  Here is a link to a review of these findings from NPR which includes commentary from Alessio Fasano: A Protein In The Gut May Explain Why Some Can’t Stomach Gluten

An excerpt:

Zonulin is an inflammatory protein first discovered by Fasano and his team in 2000. It helps regulate leakiness in the gut by opening and closing the spaces or “junctions” between cells in the lining of the digestive tract…

Giovanni Barbara and a team of researchers at the University of Bologna measured blood levels of zonulin in four groups of individuals: those with celiac disease, those with irritable bowel syndrome marked by diarrhea, those with self-diagnosed gluten sensitivity and healthy volunteers. Both celiacs and gluten sensitives turned up with remarkably high levels of zonulin in their blood. Those with IBS had elevated levels but less than half of celiacs or gluten sensitive individuals. Healthy volunteers had negligible blood levels of zonulin.

The results were presented in October as an abstract at the 23rd United European Gastroenterology Week in Barcelona, Spain.

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