Background: PreventCD (www.preventcd.com) is a European multicentre study, which studies the influence of infant nutrition, and that of genetic, immunologic and environmental factors, on the risk of developing coeliac disease (CD). The hypothesis is that it is possible to induce tolerance to gluten by introducing small quantities of gluten to infants, preferably while they are still being breast-fed, and that this might also reduce the risk for related autoimmune disorders.
Aim: To describe the design of this ongoing European CD research project.
Methods: PreventCD encompasses two study designs and two study populations: (i) a European multicentre study: a prospective, double-blind, randomized dietary-intervention study among infants from families with high risk of CD, and (ii) a Swedish population-based CD screening study among 12-year-olds from the general population, divided into two birth cohorts that differ with respect to infant feeding practices.
Discussion: PreventCD is expected to elucidate some of the genetic and immunological mechanisms involved in the process of immune intolerance.