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J Endocrinol Invest. 1999 May;22(5):390-4.

Unusual association of thyroiditis, Addison's disease, ovarian failure and celiac disease in a young woman.

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Centro di Endocrinologia e Oncologia Sperimentale del CNR, Dipartimento di Biologia e Patologia Cellulare e Molecolare L. Califano, Italy.


The coexistence of autoimmune endocrine diseases, particularly autoimmune thyroid disease and celiac disease (CD), has recently been reported. We here present a 23-year-old woman with a diagnosis of hypothyroidism due to Hashimoto's thyroiditis, autoimmune Addison's disease, and kariotypically normal spontaneous premature ovarian failure. Considering the close association between autoimmune diseases and CD, we decided to search for IgA anti-endomysium antibodies (EmA) in the serum. The positivity of EmA and the presence of total villous atrophy at jejunal biopsy allowed the diagnosis of CD. On a gluten-free diet the patient showed a marked clinical improvement accompanied, over a 3-month period, by a progressive decrease in the need for thyroid and adrenal replacement therapies. After 6 months, serum EmA became negative and after 12 months a new jejunal biopsy showed complete mucosal recovery. After 18 months on gluten-free diet, the anti-thyroid antibodies titre decreased significantly, and we could discontinue thyroid substitutive therapy. This case emphasizes the association between autoimmune polyglandular disease and CD; the precocious identification of these cases is clinically relevant not only for the high risk of complications (e.g. lymphoma) inherent to untreated CD, but also because CD is one of the causes for the failure of substitute hormonal therapy in patients with autoimmune thyroid disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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