Food and Behaviour Research

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Association of Gluten Intake During the First 5 Years of Life With Incidence of Celiac Disease Autoimmunity and Celiac Disease Among Children at Increased Risk

Aronsson C-A, Lee H-S, Hård af Segerstad EM, Uusitalo U, Yang J, Koletzko S, Liu E, Kurppa K, Bingley PJ, Toppari J, Ziegler AG, She J-X, Hagopian WA, Rewers M, Akolkar B, Krischer JP, Virtanen SM, Norris JM, Agardh D (2019) JAMA.  2019 Aug;322(6): 514-523. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.10329 

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Abstract:

Question  Is the amount of gluten intake during the first 5 years of life associated with the risk of celiac disease autoimmunity and celiac disease in at-risk children?

Findings  In this multinational prospective birth cohort consisting of 6605 genetically predisposed children, higher gluten intake was associated with a statistically significant increase in celiac disease autoimmunity (absolute risk difference, 6.1%) and celiac disease (absolute risk difference, 7.2%) for every gram increase of gluten intake per day.

Meaning  Increased intake of gluten during the first 5 years of life was an independent risk factor for celiac disease autoimmunity and celiac disease in genetically predisposed children.

Abstract

Importance  High gluten intake during childhood may confer risk of celiac disease.

Objectives  To investigate if the amount of gluten intake is associated with celiac disease autoimmunity and celiac disease in genetically at-risk children.

Design, Setting, and Participants  The participants in The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young (TEDDY), a prospective observational birth cohort study designed to identify environmental triggers of type 1 diabetes and celiac disease, were followed up at 6 clinical centers in Finland, Germany, Sweden, and the United States. Between 2004 and 2010, 8676 newborns carrying HLA antigen genotypes associated with type 1 diabetes and celiac disease were enrolled. Screening for celiac disease with tissue transglutaminase autoantibodies was performed annually in 6757 children from the age of 2 years. Data on gluten intake were available in 6605 children (98%) by September 30, 2017.

Exposures  Gluten intake was estimated from 3-day food records collected at ages 6, 9, and 12 months and biannually thereafter until the age of 5 years.

Main Outcomes and Measures  The primary outcome was celiac disease autoimmunity, defined as positive tissue transglutaminase autoantibodies found in 2 consecutive serum samples. The secondary outcome was celiac disease confirmed by intestinal biopsy or persistently high tissue transglutaminase autoantibody levels.

Results  Of the 6605 children (49% females; median follow-up: 9.0 years [interquartile range, 8.0-10.0 years]), 1216 (18%) developed celiac disease autoimmunity and 447 (7%) developed celiac disease. The incidence for both outcomes peaked at the age of 2 to 3 years. Daily gluten intake was associated with higher risk of celiac disease autoimmunity for every 1-g/d increase in gluten consumption (hazard ratio [HR], 1.30 [95% CI, 1.22-1.38]; absolute risk by the age of 3 years if the reference amount of gluten was consumed, 28.1%; absolute risk if gluten intake was 1-g/d higher than the reference amount, 34.2%; absolute risk difference, 6.1% [95% CI, 4.5%-7.7%]). Daily gluten intake was associated with higher risk of celiac disease for every 1-g/d increase in gluten consumption (HR, 1.50 [95% CI, 1.35-1.66]; absolute risk by age of 3 years if the reference amount of gluten was consumed, 20.7%; absolute risk if gluten intake was 1-g/d higher than the reference amount, 27.9%; absolute risk difference, 7.2% [95% CI, 6.1%-8.3%]).

Conclusions and Relevance  Higher gluten intake during the first 5 years of life was associated with increased risk of celiac disease autoimmunity and celiac disease among genetically predisposed children.

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