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Acta Paediatr. 2002;91(10):1141-3.

Regression of autoimmunity and abnormal glucose homeostasis in an adolescent boy with silent coeliac disease.

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Department of Growth and Reproduction, S. Anna Hospital, Ferrara, Italy.


We report on a 15-y-old adolescent boy affected by silent coeliac disease, abnormalities in glycoregulation and with autoantibodies specific to diabetes mellitus type 1 (ICA: islet cell antibodies) and GAD 65 (autoantibodies against glutamic acid decarboxylase), in whom normalization of glycoregulation and disappearance of the immunological markers of pre-diabetes were observed after 6 mo on a gluten-free diet. The patient was followed-up for 36 mo and showed a normal insulin response to an intravenous glucose tolerance test and no markers of autoimmunity. It is possible that undiagnosed coeliac disease over a long period could lead to a direct autoimmune mechanism against pancreatic beta cells.


Our findings seem to confirm the theory that undiagnosed coeliac disease can induce an autoimmune process against the pancreatic beta cells and that, following a gluten-free diet, the immunological markers for diabetes mellitus type 1 will disappear.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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