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World J Gastroenterol. 2009 Oct 14;15(38):4741-4.

Adult celiac disease with acetylcholine receptor antibody positive myasthenia gravis.

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Department of Medicine (Gastroenterology and Neurology), University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.


Celiac disease has been associated with some autoimmune disorders. A 40-year-old competitive strongman with celiac disease responded to a gluten-free diet, but developed profound and generalized motor weakness with acetylcholine receptor antibody positive myasthenia gravis, a disorder reported to occur in about 1 in 5000. This possible relationship between myasthenia gravis and celiac disease was further explored in serological studies. Frozen stored serum samples from 23 acetylcholine receptor antibody positive myasthenia gravis patients with no intestinal symptoms were used to screen for celiac disease. Both endomysial and tissue transglutaminase antibodies were examined. One of 23 (or, about 4.3%) was positive for both IgA-endomysial and IgA tissue transglutaminase antibodies. Endoscopic studies subsequently showed duodenal mucosal scalloping and biopsies confirmed the histopathological changes of celiac disease. Celiac disease and myasthenia gravis may occur together more often than is currently appreciated. The presence of motor weakness in celiac disease may be a clue to occult myasthenia gravis, even in the absence of intestinal symptoms.

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