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Diabetes Metab Res Rev. 2018 May;34(4):e2987. doi: 10.1002/dmrr.2987. Epub 2018 Mar 15.

Gluten-free diet during pregnancy alleviates signs of diabetes and celiac disease in NOD mouse offspring.

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The Bartholin Institute, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Frederiksberg, Denmark.



Gluten-free (GF) diet during pregnancy ameliorates autoimmune diabetes in nonobese diabetic (NOD) mouse offspring. Due to comorbidity of celiac disease in type 1 diabetes, we hypothesized that GF diet in utero alleviates the humoral and histopathological signs of celiac disease in NOD mice. We aimed to establish the mechanisms behind the diabetes-protective effect of GF diet in utero.


Breeding pairs of NOD mice were fed a GF or gluten-containing standard (STD) diet until parturition. The offspring were nursed by mothers on STD diet and continued on this diet until ages 4 and 13 weeks. Analyses of serum antitissue transglutaminase (anti-tTG) intestine and islet histology, islet transglutaminase (TG) activity, and cytokine expression in T cells from lymphoid organs were performed.


GF versus STD diet in utero led to reduced serum anti-tTG titre and increased villus-to-crypt ratio at both ages. Insulitis along with systemic and local inflammation were decreased, but islet TG activity was unchanged in 13-week-old GF mice. These mice had unchanged beta-cell volumes, but increased islet numbers throughout the prediabetic period.


Collectively, GF diet administered during pregnancy improves signs of celiac disease and autoimmune diabetes in the offspring. The diabetes-ameliorative effect of GF diet in utero is followed by dampening of inflammation, unchanged beta-cell volume, but increased islet numbers.


NOD mice; beta-cell; celiac disease; gluten-free diet; islet of Langerhans; type 1 diabetes

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