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Is the Rotavirus Vaccine Really Associated with a Decreased Risk of Developing Celiac and Other Autoimmune Diseases?

Ibrahim Kiliccalan

Abstract

This review examines the risk of developing celiac disease (CD) and other autoimmune diseases in individuals receiving the rotavirus (RV) vaccine compared to the normal population. Celiac disease is a malabsorptive, chronic, immune-mediated enteropathy involving the small intestine. The pathogenesis of CD is multifactorial, and mucosal immunity plays an important role in its development. Low mucosal IgA levels significantly increase the risk of developing the disease. Rotavirus is an infectious agent that causes diarrhea, particularly in children aged 0–24 months, and is frequently involved in diarrhea-related deaths in these children. An oral vaccine against RV has been developed. While it is effective on RV infection, it also contributes to increasing mucosal immunity. Studies have indicated that individuals immunized with the RV vaccine are at lower risk of developing CD than unvaccinated individuals. In addition, the mean age for developing CD autoimmunity may be higher in the vaccinated group than in controls receiving placebo. Additional studies that include children immunized with different RV vaccines and unvaccinated children would provide more meaningful results. Although current data suggest a possible association of RV vaccination with a reduced risk of developing CD and other autoimmune diseases, this remains an unanswered question that merits greater international investigation.