A Two-Sample Mendelian Randomization Analysis Investigates Associations Between Gut Microbiota and Celiac Disease

Nutrients. 2020 May 14;12(5):1420. doi: 10.3390/nu12051420.


Celiac disease (CeD) is a complex immune-mediated inflammatory condition triggered by the ingestion of gluten in genetically predisposed individuals. Literature suggests that alterations in gut microbiota composition and function precede the onset of CeD. Considering that microbiota is partly determined by host genetics, we speculated that the genetic makeup of CeD patients could elicit disease development through alterations in the intestinal microbiota. To evaluate potential causal relationships between gut microbiota and CeD, we performed a two-sample Mendelian randomization analysis (2SMR). Exposure data were obtained from the raw results of a previous genome-wide association study (GWAS) of gut microbiota and outcome data from summary statistics of CeD GWAS and Immunochip studies. We identified a number of putative associations between gut microbiota single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with CeD. Regarding bacterial composition, most of the associated SNPs were related to Firmicutes phylum, whose relative abundance has been previously reported to be altered in CeD patients. In terms of functional units, we linked a number of SNPs to several bacterial metabolic pathways that seemed to be related to CeD. Overall, this study represented the first 2SMR approach to elucidate the relationship between microbiome and CeD.

Keywords: Mendelian randomization; celiac disease; gut microbiota.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Celiac Disease / genetics*
  • Celiac Disease / microbiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / genetics*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / epidemiology*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / genetics
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Humans
  • Mendelian Randomization Analysis
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide / genetics