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Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2015 Sep;12(9):527-36. doi: 10.1038/nrgastro.2015.98. Epub 2015 Jun 23.

Coeliac disease and gluten-related disorders in childhood.

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  • 1Department of Paediatrics, Leiden University Medical Centre, Albinusdreef 2/PO 9600, 2300 RC Leiden, Netherlands.
  • 2Department of Immunohematology and Blood Transfusion, Leiden University Medical Centre, Albinusdreef 2/PO 9600, 2300 RC Leiden, Netherlands.


Gluten-related disorders such as coeliac disease, wheat allergy and noncoeliac gluten sensitivity are increasingly being diagnosed in children. Coeliac disease occurs frequently, affecting 1-3% of the Western population. The condition manifests at a very young age, more so in girls, and is related to the HLA genotype. Coeliac disease might be considered a public health problem and, as primary prevention is not possible, the debate on mass screening should be reopened. Wheat proteins, including gluten, are responsible for one of the most common food allergies in children: wheat allergy. Unlike coeliac disease and wheat allergy, noncoeliac gluten sensitivity is an unclear and controversial entity. These three gluten-related disorders are treated with a gluten-free diet. In coeliac disease, the diet should be strictly followed, whereas wheat allergy only requires wheat elimination and in noncoeliac gluten sensitivity occasional trials of gluten reintroduction can be done. A good diagnostic work-up is important for gluten-related disorders in childhood to avoid unnecessary restrictive diets in children. In this Review, we provide an overview of the pathogenesis, diagnosis and management of the most common gluten-related disorders in children.

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