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Rev Esp Enferm Dig. 2019 Dec 27;112. doi: 10.17235/reed.2019.5947/2018. [Epub ahead of print]

The value of a biopsy in celiac disease follow up: assessment of the small bowel after 6 and 24 months treatment with a gluten free diet.

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Gastroenterology and Liver Diseases, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Iran.
Gastroenterology and Liver Diseases , Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Iran.
Basic and Molecular Epidemiology of Gastrointestin, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Iran.
Departments of Gastroenterology, Mid Central DHB. Palmerston Hospital, UK.
Departments of Medical and Surgical Sciences, , University of Bologna, Italy.



a routine small bowel biopsy (SBB) during the follow up of celiac disease (CD) is controversial. Little information is available regarding the histological changes during (gluten free diet (GFD) in the long term.


the aim of the study was to evaluate a novel criterion to compare duodenal histology in CD patients after six months and two years of gluten withdrawal.


this was a cross-sectional study of 200 patients with confirmed Marsh I-III who were under the six months (group A, n = 100) and 24 months (group B, n = 100) of a GFD. Nineteen patients were excluded due to an inadequate adherence to the GFD and another 23 patients were excluded as they were unwilling to undergo a re-endoscopy and did not comply with the necessary criteria. Endoscopy with a duodenal biopsy, serological assays and clinical evaluation were performed and compared with baseline data in the remaining 58 patients (20 patients in group A and 38 patients in group B).


a significant complete histological recovery was found in 47.4% of patients in group B compared to 30% in group A (p = 0.026). A partial histological recovery was reported in seven (35%) and eleven (28.9%) patients in groups A and B, respectively. Any changes in mucosal histology after GFD was observed in 35% of patients in group A and 23.7% in group B. Serological assessment and endoscopic appearance normalized in 78.9% vs 75.0% in group B and 68.4% vs 65.0% in group A, respectively. However, this improvement did not reach statistical significance (p > 0.05).


the results of this study show that histological recovery in patients with Marsh ≥ III is slow and does not correlate with symptomatic improvement. We suggest that the long-term effects of a GFD can play an important role in achieving histological improvement, especially in older patients.

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