Celiac disease

World J Gastroenterol. 2006 Nov 7;12(41):6585-93. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v12.i41.6585.


Celiac disease (CD) is a common autoimmune disorder, induced by the intake of gluten proteins present in wheat, barley and rye. Contrary to common belief, this disorder is a protean systemic disease, rather than merely a pure digestive alteration. CD is closely associated with genes that code HLA-II antigens, mainly of DQ2 and DQ8 classes. Previously, it was considered to be a rare childhood disorder, but is actually considered a frequent condition, present at any age, which may have multiple complications. Tissue transglutaminase-2 (tTG), appears to be an important component of this disease, both, in its pathogenesis and diagnosis. Active CD is characterized by intestinal and/or extra-intestinal symptoms, villous atrophy and crypt hyperplasia, and strongly positive tTG auto-antibodies. The duodenal biopsy is considered to be the "gold standard" for diagnosis, but its practice has significant limitations in its interpretation, especially in adults. Occasionally, it results in a false-negative because of patchy mucosal changes and the presence of mucosal villous atrophy is often more severe in the proximal jejunum, usually not reached by endoscopic biopsies. CD is associated with increased rates of several diseases, such as iron deficiency anemia, osteoporosis, dermatitis herpetiformis, several neurologic and endocrine diseases, persistent chronic hypertransami-nasemia of unknown origin, various types of cancer and other autoimmune disorders. Treatment of CD dictates a strict, life-long gluten-free diet, which results in remission for most individuals, although its effect on some associated extraintestinal manifestations remains to be established.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / etiology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / complications
  • Autoimmune Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / epidemiology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / therapy
  • Celiac Disease / complications
  • Celiac Disease / diagnosis*
  • Celiac Disease / epidemiology
  • Celiac Disease / physiopathology*
  • Celiac Disease / therapy
  • Dermatitis Herpetiformis / etiology
  • Endocrine System Diseases / etiology
  • Glutens / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / etiology
  • Nervous System Diseases / etiology
  • Osteoporosis / etiology
  • Protein Glutamine gamma Glutamyltransferase 2


  • TGM2 protein, human
  • Glutens
  • Protein Glutamine gamma Glutamyltransferase 2