Oats in the treatment of childhood coeliac disease: a 2-year controlled trial and a long-term clinical follow-up study

Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2006 May 15;23(10):1463-72. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2036.2006.02908.x.


Background: The exclusion of oats from the diet in coeliac disease is controversial.

Aim: To study the long-term safety of oats in the treatment of children with coeliac disease.

Methods: Altogether 32 children with coeliac disease were enrolled in a 2-year controlled trial. Twenty-three children in remission were randomized either to oats or gluten challenge; when small bowel histological relapse was evident after gluten challenge, a gluten-free diet including oats was started. Furthermore, nine newly detected coeliac patients adopted an oat-containing gluten-free diet. Small bowel mucosal morphology, CD3+, alphabeta+ and gammadelta+ intraepithelial lymphocytes, human leucocyte antigen (HLA) DR expression and coeliac serology were determined. After the trial, the children were allowed to eat oats freely; follow-up was extended up to 7 years.

Results: In coeliac children in remission, oats had no detrimental effect on intestinal histology or serology during the 2-year trial. In contrast, the gluten-challenge group relapsed after 3-12 months. Complete recovery from the disease was accomplished in all relapsed and newly detected patients on an oat-containing gluten-free diet. After the trial, 86% of the children preferred to consume oats and they all remained in remission.

Conclusion: In most children with coeliac disease, long-term consumption of oats is well tolerated, and it does not result in small bowel mucosal deterioration or immune activation.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Avena*
  • CD3 Complex / analysis
  • Celiac Disease / blood
  • Celiac Disease / diet therapy*
  • Celiac Disease / pathology
  • Child
  • Diet, Protein-Restricted / methods
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glutens
  • HLA-DR Antigens / analysis
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / pathology
  • Intestine, Small / pathology
  • Male
  • Patient Compliance
  • Patient Dropouts
  • Recurrence
  • Treatment Outcome


  • CD3 Complex
  • HLA-DR Antigens
  • Glutens