Gluten-related neurological diseases (GRND) are a spectrum of immune-mediated disorders triggered by the ingestion of gluten. Coeliac disease (CD) is the best characterised of these with a prevalence of 1% in the UK. However, two thirds of gluten-sensitive patients with neurological manifestations do not have classic digestive symptoms or enteropathy (coeliac disease), yet respond to a gluten-free diet.
The NIHR Sheffield Biomedical Research Centre will work to evaluate new biomarkers in the diagnosis of neurological dysfunction due to gluten sensitivity. In particular the role of an enzyme called transglutaminase-6 (TG6) will be explored as a biomarker and its role in the pathophysiology of GRND investigated. The commercial development of a TG6 antibody will be pursued as a tool to screen for gluten-sensitivity. Working with the Advanced Medical Imaging cross-cutting theme, the use of novel non-invasive Magnetic Resonance (MR) spectroscopy as a biomarker and monitoring tool in the treatment of gluten and other ataxias will also be developed.
The Sheffield Ataxia Centre is one of only 3 National Ataxia centres in the UK. It has been accredited by Ataxia UK as an Ataxia Centre of Excellence in 2007. It cares for over 1700 patients with various types of ataxias. There is particular emphasis on immune ataxias and in particular Gluten Ataxia, originally described in Sheffield in 1996.