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J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2007 Oct;45(4):433-7.

Growth hormone treatment in prepubertal children with celiac disease and growth hormone deficiency.

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Department of Pediatric Science, Università degli Studi di Pavia, Fondazione IRCCS San Matteo, Pavia, Italy.



To evaluate the growth response to growth hormone (GH) replacement therapy during a gluten-free diet in patients with celiac disease (CD) associated with GH deficiency (GHD).


A total of 14 prepubertal children affected by CD and GHD with no catch-up growth after >/=12 months of gluten-free diet and a reversion to seronegativity for antiendomysium antibodies and 10 age-matched prepubertal children with idiopathic GHD (IGHD) entered the study. All of the patients were treated with the same GH dosage (0.25 mg/kg subcutaneously each week). Height, growth rate, and body mass index were measured at the time of diagnosis of CD, at the time of endocrinological evaluation, and after the first, second, and third year of GH replacement therapy.


Growth rate strikingly increased (P < 0.005) during the first year of therapy in a similar way in subjects with CD/GHD and IGHD (from a median standard deviation score [SDS] of -2.34 to an SDS of 3.25 and from an SDS of -1.29 to an SDS of 2.79, respectively). During the second and third years of GH treatment, the growth rate tended to decrease but the values at the third year were always positive (CD/GHD, median SDS, 1.10; IGHD, median SDS, 0.11), indicating continued catch-up growth.


In patients with CD with GH deficiency confirmed after >/=12 months of gluten-free diet, GH replacement therapy should be started to allow complete catch-up growth in children. In addition, the effect of GH treatment in patients who comply with a gluten-free diet seems to be comparable to that observed in children with IGHD.

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