Celiac disease is not unique to humans. Some types of monkey also suffer from the disease.
Wheat may not be in the diet of your average monkey, but there is good reason to be interested in animals with celiac disease.
Scientists studying celiac disease need an “animal model” for the disease so that they can better study it.
An animal model means that a disease mechanism similar to that found in humans is identified in an animal. The symptoms may not be the same, and the animal may react differently from the human, but at least scientists can study the disease, and how different treatments might affect the outcome of the disease.
Scientists tested a group of captive rhesus macaques with chronic diarrhea. Some were found to test positive for celiac disease, using ELISA-based antibody tests.
These monkeys were given a gluten-free diet, and their symptoms disappeared. Symptoms returned when they started eating gluten again.
The scientists of course were happy to have animals on which to test treatments and study celiac disease.