Benefiacial Effects Of Gluten Free Diet In Potential Celiac Disease Of The Adult

Nicola Imperatore, Raffaella Tortora, Giovanni Domenico De Palma, Pietro Capone, Nicolò Gerbino, Sara Donetto, Anna Testa, Nicola Caporaso, Antonio Rispo

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Background To date, potential coeliac disease (PCD) occurring in adults remains an almost unexplored condition. Aims to explore the prognostic role of Marsh grade in adult PCD patients, and to evaluate the effects of gluten-containing diet (GCD) in asymptomatic PCD patients. Methods We retrospectively evaluated all consecutive adult PCD patients followed-up for at least 6 years. Patients were divided into: Group A (patients with Marsh 0 histology) and Group B (Marsh 1 patients). Symptomatic patients were started gluten-free diet (GFD), while asymptomatic subjects were kept on GCD and were followed-up. Results 56 PCD patients were enrolled (21 in Group A and 35 in Group B). Forty-three patients were symptomatic and started GFD. Of these, none of 15 patients in Group A and 8 of 28 patients in Group B developed immune-mediated disorders (IMD) during follow-up (P = 0.03; OR = 4.2). The 13 asymptomatic PCD patients were kept on GCD. During the follow-up, 9 patients developed CD-related symptoms, 6 villous atrophy and 8 IMD. At the end, patients kept on GCD were at higher risk of developing IMD than those following a GFD (61% vs 18%, P = 0.03, OR = 3.3). Conclusions Although PCD with normal mucosa seems to be a milder disease, the continuation of GCD places patients at a high risk of developing villous atrophy and IMD compared to commencement of GFD. Adult PCD patients should start GFD even if not symptomatic.
Original languageEnglish
Early online date22 Mar 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Mar 2017


  • Potential coeliac disease
  • Marsh
  • villous atrophy
  • immuno-mediated disorders


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