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Pediatr Int. 2000 Oct;42(5):483-7.

Celiac disease in Turkish children: presentation of 104 cases.

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Department of Pediatrics, Hacettepe University, Faculty of Medicine, Ankara, Turkey.



Celiac disease is characterized by life-long gluten intolerance. Clinical features of patients with celiac disease are variable. In the present study, clinical, laboratory and histologic features of 104 patients with celiac disease were evaluated.


Intestinal biopsy and serum antigliadin and anti-endomysium antibodies were used for the diagnosis of patients. Mucosal lesions were classified according to the criteria of Marsh. Antigliadin antibodies were measured with a commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Anti-endomysium antibodies were analyzed by indirect immunofluorescence with the use of a section of monkey esophagus. Routine hematological and biochemical analyses and measurement of immunoglobulin levels were undertaken.


The mean (+/- SD) patient age was 5.9 +/- 4.1 years (range 10 months-16 years) and the most common symptom was diarrhea (81.7%) followed by abdominal distention, weight loss, anorexia and failure to thrive. Abdominal distention (60.6%), short stature (45.2%) and iron-deficiency anemia were the most common findings. High serum alanine aminotransferase levels were found in 38.3% of patients and these levels became normal after adoption of a gluten-free diet in all but two patients with cirrhosis. Immunoglobulin A, IgG antigliadin antibodies and IgA anti-endomysium antibodies were found in 76, 94 and 90% of patients, respectively. Biopsy of the small intestine revealed that 95, two and seven patients had type 3, type 2, and type 1 lesions, respectively, according to the Marsh classification. There was no statistically significant difference between patients and control groups with regard to antinuclear antibody, antismooth muscle antibody, anti-DNA and anticardiolipin antibodies (IgG and IgM).


Although classical celiac disease was seen in most patients in the present study, clinical variability of the condition should be kept in mind. In particular, patients with uncommon findings, such as short stature, cryptogenic liver disease and iron-deficiency anemia, should also be screened for celiac disease.

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