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Cold urticaria and celiac disease.

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Allergy Department, University Hospital La Paz, Madrid, Spain.


Cold urticaria can be associated with blood and thyroid disorders, drugs, or infections. Celiac disease is an autoimmune enteropathy caused by permanent gluten intolerance. It is often associated with other autoimmune diseases, such as chronic idiopathic urticaria. Nevertheless, association with cold urticaria has not yet been described. A boy aged 3 years 8 months presented local urticaria-angioedema when exposed to cold temperatures. An ice cube test was positive and iron deficiency anemia was demonstrated. He later developed legume intolerance, rhinoconjunctivitis related to pollen sensitization, and asthma. Due to persistence of cold urticaria symptoms and refractory anemia, a test for immunoglobulin A autoantibodies to tissue transglutaminase and an intestinal biopsy were performed. Results of both tests were compatible with celiac disease.A study of human leukocyte antigen indicated a high risk phenotype (HLA, DR6/DR7; DQA 0501, 0201; DQB 0301, 0201). After 7 months of a gluten-free diet, the boy's anemia resolved and he is free of symptoms when exposed to cold. This is a first description of the possibility of an association between celiac disease and cold urticaria. A poor course of cold urticaria in the absence of evidence of another underlying condition should lead to suspicion of celiac disease.

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