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Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2013 Jan;36(1):11-20. doi: 10.1016/j.gastrohep.2012.07.011. Epub 2012 Oct 23.

Spectrum of gluten-sensitive enteropathy in patients with dysmotility-like dyspepsia.

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Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Hospital San Jorge, Huesca, Spain.



Dysmotility-like dyspepsia symptoms are frequent in patients with gluten-sensitive enteropathy (GSE). Current data suggest that patients with mild enteropathy may be present with gluten-sensitive symptoms and complications.


To investigate the prevalence of GSE, including mild enteropathy, in patients with dysmotility-like dyspepsia symptoms.


We retrospectively studied 142 patients who presented dysmotility-like dyspepsia symptoms and normal upper gastrointestinal endoscopy. Endoscopic duodenal biopsies were taken and processed using hematoxylin-eosin staining and CD3 immunophenotyping. In patients with enteropathy (number of intraepithelial lymphocytes greater than 25 per 100 enterocytes) we also performed coeliac serology (anti-tissue transglutaminase IgA) and HLA-DQ2/DQ8 genotyping. A gluten-free diet was offered if one of these markers was positive. The final GSE diagnosis was established based on clinical and histopathological response to the gluten-free diet after 18 months of follow-up.


Fifty-one patients (35.9%) had enteropathy; 4 (2.8%) Marsh type 3b, 24 (16.9%) Marsh type 3a, 3 (2.1%) Marsh type 2, and 20 (14.1%) Marsh type 1. A positive serology result was extremely low (6.7%) in mild enteropathy (Marsh type 1-3a) in contrast with Marsh type 3b patients (50%). Most patients with enteropathy had positive HLA DQ2 or -DQ8 genotyping (84.1%). Out of the 37 patients who started a gluten-free diet, 34 (91.9%) improved their symptoms, and 28 of 32 (87.5%) had a histopathological or serological response. A final GSE diagnosis was established in 28 of the 142 patients (19.7%).


Gluten-sensitive enteropathy can be a frequent and unsuspected cause of dysmotility-like dyspepsia.

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