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Revista médica de Chile

versión impresa ISSN 0034-9887


PARADA, ALEJANDRA  y  ARAYA, MAGDALENA. History of gluten and its effects on celiac disease. Rev. méd. Chile [online]. 2010, vol.138, n.10, pp.1319-1325. ISSN 0034-9887.

The global prevalence of celiac disease is of one person per 250 inhabitants. The disease is induced by gluten, a peptide contained in wheat, rye and barley that during small intestinal digestion generates smaller peptides. Some of these are resistant to hydrolysis and cross through the epithelium into the mucosa, inducing a cascade of immune reactions leading to the appearance of the disease in susceptible individuals. Gluten appeared as a consequence of agricultural practices initiated 10000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent of southwest Asia. Celiac disease epidemiology is complicated since consumption of gluten differs depending on the origin of populations. Treatment of celiac disease consists of withdrawing gluten from the diet, a task that becomes difficult in the long term. The concept of gluten-free food has changed along time. This article updates the concept of celiac disease, the history of gluten consumption in the world, the characteristics of a gluten free diet and the difficulties to adhere to it.

Palabras clave : Celiac disease; Gliadin; Glutens.

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