Food additives can act as triggering factors in celiac disease: Current knowledge based on a critical review of the literature

World J Clin Cases. 2019 Apr 26;7(8):917-927. doi: 10.12998/wjcc.v7.i8.917.


Celiac disease (CeD) is an autoimmune disorder, mainly affecting the small intestine, triggered by the ingestion of gluten with the diet in subjects with a specific genetic status. The passage of gluten peptides through the intestinal barrier, the uptake by antigen presenting cells and their presentation to T cells represent essential steps in the pathogenesis of the disease. CeD prevalence varies in different populations, but a tendency to increase has been observed in various studies in recent years. A higher amount of gluten in modern grains could explain this increased frequency, but also food processing could play a role in this phenomenon. In particular, the common use of preservatives such as nanoparticles could intervene in the pathogenesis of CeD, due to their possible effect on the integrity of the intestinal barrier, immune response or microbiota. In fact, these alterations have been reported after exposure to metal nanoparticles, which are commonly used as preservatives or to improve food texture, consistency and color. This review will focus on the interactions between several food additives and the intestine, taking into account data obtained in vitro and in vivo, and analyzing their effect in respect to the development of CeD in genetically predisposed individuals.

Keywords: Celiac disease; Food additives; Gluten; Immune system; Intestine; Metallic nanoparticles.

Publication types

  • Review