[Nondeficiency chronic polyneuropathies in celiac disease in adults (2 cases with inflammatory neuromuscular vascularitis)]

Ann Med Interne (Paris). 1976 Oct;127(10):721-9.
[Article in French]


The neurological and muscular complications seen in coeliac disease in adults are usually attributed to deficiency secondary to malabsorption. Amongst them, however, there exists a very rare cateogory, described by Cooke et al. (1966) taking the form of a chronic myeloneuropathy which cannot be explained in terms of the malabsorption syndrome. Our two cases of gluten intolerance enteropathy, confirmed by biopsy before and after diet, fell into this group of polyneuropathies. The patients, both women, suffered from an essentially sensory ataxic polyneuropathy with accessory motor component with pyramidal and posterior column signs. CSF findings showed a meningeal inflammatory reaction in one of the two cases. These neurological signs, appearing paradoxically during a digestive disease cured by diet, evolve chronically but become stabilised with corticosteroid therapy. Any vitamin deficiency may be excluded in the aetiology of these problems. Neuropathological study of neuromuscular biopsies in very fine serial sections confirmed the mild peripheral nervous involvement but revealed identical inflammatory lesions in the nerve and muscle which were remarkable by virtue of their very highly segmentally selective micro-vasculitis appearance. In these two cases, general, clinical and biological arguments, as well as the type of histological lesion, make it possible to exclude monoclonal gammapathies, malignant haemopathies, amyloidosis and the major collagen diseases. This micro-vasculitis, having transient forms with P.A.N. is no less distinctive, and may be integrated into the provisional group of "allergic angeitis", related to physiopathology of circulating immune complexes and very fashionable in theories as to the mechanism of gluten-sensitive enteropathies. The exact nature of the link between the latter and these types of polyneuropathy remains unknown.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ataxia / etiology*
  • Celiac Disease / complications*
  • Celiac Disease / immunology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Meningitis / etiology
  • Microcirculation / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscles / blood supply
  • Muscles / pathology
  • Muscular Atrophy / etiology
  • Musculocutaneous Nerve / pathology
  • Neuromuscular Diseases / etiology*
  • Paresthesia / etiology
  • Peripheral Nerves / blood supply
  • Polyneuropathies / etiology
  • Polyneuropathies / pathology
  • Polyradiculopathy / etiology*
  • Polyradiculopathy / pathology
  • Vascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Vascular Diseases / immunology