Short stature as the primary manifestation of monosymptomatic celiac disease

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 1992 Jan;14(1):12-6. doi: 10.1097/00005176-199201000-00003.


It is generally accepted that celiac disease (CD) must always be taken into consideration when dealing with children manifesting growth failure. It is therefore important to have laboratory tests capable of detecting patients who should undergo intestinal biopsy. Auxological and endocrine parameters, bone age, some nutritional indices (hemoglobin, serum iron, calcium, total protein, and albumin), and anti-gliadin antibodies (AGA) IgA and IgG and 1-h blood xylose levels were evaluated in 49 children of short stature. On the basis of the intestinal biopsy, 29 (59.1%) patients affected by CD were found. When patients with atrophic and normal intestinal mucosa were compared, significant differences in the frequency of pathological values of hemoglobinemia, serum iron, AGA, and 1-h blood xylose levels were found, whereas no difference was observed in the levels of serum calcium, total protein, and albumin. Bone age was delayed in 81% of the celiac patients and in 47% of the controls. In particular, AGAs were found in 27 of 29 celiac patients and in three control subjects who showed a low level of one of the two antibodies. The results of our study demonstrate that AGA (IgA and IgG), together with 1-h blood xylose, hemoglobinemia, serum iron, and family history of CD determination, are extremely useful for screening patients of short stature. This type of screening cannot, however, replace the intestinal biopsy because such tests cannot be completely sensitive and specific.

MeSH terms

  • Body Constitution
  • Celiac Disease / complications*
  • Celiac Disease / metabolism
  • Child
  • Female
  • Growth Disorders / etiology*
  • Growth Disorders / metabolism
  • Growth Hormone / deficiency
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin A / blood
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Male
  • Xylose / blood


  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Growth Hormone
  • Xylose