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Annu Rev Med. 2006;57:207-21.

Celiac disease.

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Department of Medicine, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York 10032, USA.


Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that occurs in genetically predisposed individuals as the result of an immune response to gluten. This immune response occurs in both the lamina propria and the epithelium of the small intestine. There is a close link to HLA DQ2 and DQ8, although these HLA genes account for only 40% of the genetic influence. Environmental factors, such as the amount and timing of gluten administration in infancy, as well as breastfeeding, influence the disease. Serologic screening studies that use sensitive and specific antibody tests have revealed the disease to be common, occurring in approximately 1% of the population. Clinical presentations are diverse and atypical; the majority of patients lack diarrhea. Therapy is a gluten-free diet that requires avoidance of wheat, rye, and barley, although there is potential for other therapies based on our understanding of the pathophysiology of the disease.

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