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Am J Gastroenterol. 2005 Dec;100(12):2784-8.

Gut microflora associated characteristics in children with celiac disease.

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Microbiology and Tumour Biology Center, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.



The aim of the study was to investigate the metabolic function of intestinal microflora in children with celiac disease (CD) in order to find out if there is a deviant gut flora in CD patients compared to healthy controls.


The study group comprised children with CD, consecutively diagnosed according to current criteria given by the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition. Thirty-six children were studied at presentation, i.e., on a normal gluten-containing diet, with clinical symptoms and signs indicative of CD, positive celiac serology markers, and a small bowel biopsy showing severe enteropathy. Forty-seven patients were studied when they had been on a gluten-free diet (GFD) for at least 3 months. For comparison, a group of 42 healthy controls (HC) were studied. The functional status of the intestinal microflora was evaluated by gas-liquid chromatography of short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) in fecal samples.


There was a significant difference between untreated CD children and HC as well as between treated CD children and HC regarding acetic, i-butyric, i-valeric acid, and total SCFAs. The propionic and n-valeric acids differed significantly between CD children on GFD and HC. Moreover, there was a strong correlation between i-butyric and i-valeric acids in all study groups.


This is the first study of the SCFA pattern in fecal samples from children with CD. The results indicate that there is a difference in the metabolic activity of intestinal microbial flora in children with CD compared to that in HC. The finding of a different pattern of some SCFAs in celiacs both at presentation and during treatment with GFD indicates that it is a genuine phenomenon of CD not affected by either the diet, the inflammation, or the autoimmune status of the patient.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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