Probiotics in Celiac Disease

Nutrients. 2018 Nov 23;10(12):1824. doi: 10.3390/nu10121824.


Recently, the interest in the human microbiome and its interplay with the host has exploded and provided new insights on its role in conferring host protection and regulating host physiology, including the correct development of immunity. However, in the presence of microbial imbalance and particular genetic settings, the microbiome may contribute to the dysfunction of host metabolism and physiology, leading to pathogenesis and/or the progression of several diseases. Celiac disease (CD) is a chronic autoimmune enteropathy triggered by dietary gluten exposure in genetically predisposed individuals. Despite ascertaining that gluten is the trigger in CD, evidence has indicated that intestinal microbiota is somehow involved in the pathogenesis, progression, and clinical presentation of CD. Indeed, several studies have reported imbalances in the intestinal microbiota of patients with CD that are mainly characterized by an increased abundance of Bacteroides spp. and a decrease in Bifidobacterium spp. The evidence that some of these microbial imbalances still persist in spite of a strict gluten-free diet and that celiac patients suffering from persistent gastrointestinal symptoms have a desert gut microbiota composition further support its close link with CD. All of this evidence gives rise to the hypothesis that probiotics might play a role in this condition. In this review, we describe the recent scientific evidences linking the gut microbiota in CD, starting from the possible role of microbes in CD pathogenesis, the attempt to define a microbial signature of disease, the effect of a gluten-free diet and host genetic assets regarding microbial composition to end in the exploration of the proof of concept of probiotic use in animal models to the most recent clinical application of selected probiotic strains.

Keywords: celiac disease; gluten free diet; microbiota; probiotics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteria / growth & development*
  • Celiac Disease / drug therapy*
  • Celiac Disease / microbiology
  • Diet, Gluten-Free*
  • Dysbiosis* / complications
  • Dysbiosis* / drug therapy
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use*