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Evaluation of the prevalence of the coeliac disease and its genetic components in the european population



Coeliac disease is an autoimmune type disease characterised by intolerance to gluten (gluten is a major food ingredient extracted from cereals like wheat, rye and barley). In genetically susceptible individuals, gluten ingestion results in intestinal mucosa damage and malabsorption of essential nutrients.
The coeliac-EU cluster groups together three research programmes with complementary scientific objectives:
To establish the prevalence of oeliac disease in a large European population.
To characterise the genetic basis of this common food intolerance.
To identify factors involved in the gluten-triggered pathogenesis of mucosal damage.


The epidemiology study will :
Provide an estimate of the prevalence of oeliac disease in Europe.
Allow identification and early treatment of 'silent' oeliac people who are so far not detected.

The genetic study will :
Identify association(s) between gene(s) and the oeliac disease.
Clarify the contribution of the HLA genetic components and their association with other (non-HLA) genetic markers.

The pathogenesis study will :
Characterise features of damage in the oeliac mucosa.
Provide information on factors involved in the pathogenesis of mucosal damage, in particular on T cells involvement.


A new simple serological diagnostic test, suitable for large population screening and allowing an easier and earlier detection of the disease, will be validated.
A non-invasive genetic test based on DNA analysis may potentially be developed in the future.
New therapeutic strategies, for instance based on immuno-modulation, may potentially be developed in the future.

Call for proposal

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10,burchstraat 10
9300 Aalst

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EU contribution
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Participants (14)