Send to

Choose Destination
Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2011 Apr;9(4):320-5; quiz e36. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2010.09.006. Epub 2010 Sep 17.

Natural history of potential celiac disease in children.

Author information

Department of Pediatrics and European Laboratory for the Investigation of Food-Induced Diseases, University Federico II, Naples, Italy.



The presence of celiac disease-associated autoantibodies (antiendomysium and antitissue transglutaminase [anti-TG2]) with normal jejunal mucosa indicate potential celiac disease. We performed a prospective, 3-year cohort study to determine the natural history of potential celiac disease in children.


The study included 106 children with potential celiac disease, based on serology analysis and normal duodenal architecture. All but 2 carried the HLA-DQ2 and/or DQ8 haplotype. In all children, every 6 months, growth, nutritional parameters, celiac disease serology, and autoimmunity were investigated. In biopsies, γδ intraepithelial-, CD3-, and lamina propria CD25-positive cells were counted; duodenal deposits of anti-TG2 immunoglobulin A were detected. Biopsy analysis was repeated after 2 years on patients with persistent positive serology and/or symptoms.


Celiac disease was detected primarily in first-degree relatives and patients with autoimmune disorders (40.6%). A gluten-free diet was prescribed to 20/106 patients because of symptoms, which were relieved in only 11. Eighty-nine of the 106 patients entered the follow-up study, with normal daily consumption of gluten. During the follow-up antibodies disappeared in 14.6% and fluctuated in 32.6%. Villous atrophy was observed in 12/39 patients (30.8%) who underwent a repeat biopsy.


Most children with potential celiac disease remain healthy. After 3 years, approximately 33% of patients develop villous atrophy. Intestinal deposits of anti-TG2 IgA identify children at risk for villous atrophy.

Comment in

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center