Background: Coeliac disease (CD) is a autoimmune disease characterised by mucosal inflammation in the small intestine in response to dietary gluten. Genetic factors play a key role with CD individuals carrying either the HLA-DQ2 or HLA-DQ8 haplotype, however these haplotypes are present in half the general population making them necessary but insufficient to cause CD. Epigenetic modifications, including DNA methylation that can change in response to environmental exposure could help to explain how interactions between genes and environmental factors combine to trigger disease development. Identifying changes in DNA methylation profiles in individuals with CD could help discover novel genomic regions involved in the onset and development of CD.
Methods: The Illumina InfiniumMethylation450 Beadchip array (HM450) was used to compare DNA methylation profiles in saliva, in CD and non-CD affected individuals. CD individuals who had been diagnosed at least 2 years previously; were on a GFD; and who were currently asymptomatic; were compared to age and sex-matched non-CD affected healthy controls. Bisulphite pyrosequencing was used to validate regions found to be differentially methylated. These regions were also validated in a second larger cohort of CD and non-CD affected individuals.
Results: Methylation differences within the HLA region at HLA-DQB1 were identified on HM450 but could not be confirmed with pyrosequencing. Significant methylation differences near the SLC17A3 gene were confirmed on pyrosequencing in the initial pilot cohort. Interestingly pyrosequencing sequencing of these same sites within a second cohort of CD and non-CD affected controls produced significant methylation differences in the opposite direction.
Conclusion: Altered DNA methylation profiles appear to be present in saliva in CD individuals. Further work to confirm whether these differences are truly associated with CD is needed.
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- Celiac Disease
- DNA Methylation
- Gluten-free diet
- DNA methylation
- Coeliac disease