Endocrinological disorders and celiac disease

Endocr Rev. 2002 Aug;23(4):464-83. doi: 10.1210/er.2001-0035.


Celiac disease is a permanent intolerance to dietary gluten. Its well known features are abdominal symptoms, malabsorption of nutrients, and small-bowel mucosal inflammation with villous atrophy, which recover on a gluten-free diet. Diagnosis is challenging in that patients often suffer from subtle, if any, symptoms. The risk of clinically silent celiac disease is increased in various autoimmune conditions. The endocrinologist, especially, should maintain high suspicion and alertness to celiac disease, which is to be found in 2-5% of patients with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus or autoimmune thyroid disease. Patients with multiple endocrine disorders, Addison's disease, alopecia, or hypophysitis may also have concomitant celiac disease. Similar heredity and proneness to autoimmune conditions are considered to be explanations for these associations. A gluten-free diet is essential to prevent celiac complications such as anemia, osteoporosis, and infertility. The diet may also be beneficial in the treatment of the underlying endocrinological disease; prolonged gluten exposure may even contribute to the development of autoimmune diseases. The diagnosis of celiac disease requires endoscopic biopsy, but serological screening with antiendomysial and antitissue transglutaminase antibody assays is an easy method for preliminary case finding. Celiac disease will be increasingly detected provided the close association with autoimmune endocrinological diseases is recognized.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bone Diseases / complications
  • Celiac Disease / complications*
  • Celiac Disease / therapy
  • Endocrine System Diseases / complications*
  • Endocrine System Diseases / prevention & control
  • Humans