Background: The coexistence of cystic fibrosis (CF) and celiac disease (CD) has been reported. To our knowledge there is no study directly comparing the incidence of CD in CF patients to that in the general population at the same time. There is no published data on genetic predisposition to CD in CF patients either. Therefore, in the present study we aimed to assess the genetic predisposition to CD and its incidence in CF patients comparing it to data from the general population.
Patients and methods: Two hundred eighty-two CF patients were enrolled in the study. In 230 CF patients the genetic predisposition to CD (the presence of HLA-DQ2/ DQ8) was assessed. In all CF patients, serological screening for CD was conducted. In patients with positive antiendomysial antibodies (EMA) gastroduenoscopy was offered. Intestinal histology was classified according to modified Marsh criteria. The results of serological CD screening in 3235 Polish schoolchildren and HLA-DQ typing in 200 healthy subjects (HS) were used for comparison.
Results: Positive EMA was found in 2.84% of the studied CF patients. The incidence of proven CD was 2.13%. The incidence of CD as well as positive serological screening were significantly more frequent in the CF group than in the general population. The frequency of CD-related HLA-DQ alleles in CF and HS did not differ.
Conclusions: Genetic predisposition to celiac disease in cystic fibrosis patients is similar to that of the general population. However, our results suggest that cystic fibrosis is a risk factor for celiac disease development.