Objectives: Gluten sensitivity can engender neurologic dysfunction, one of the two commonest presentations being peripheral neuropathy. The commonest type of neuropathy seen in the context of gluten sensitivity is sensorimotor axonal. We report 17 patients with sensory ganglionopathy associated with gluten sensitivity.
Methods: This is a retrospective observational case series of 17 patients with sensory ganglionopathy and gluten sensitivity. All patients had been followed up for a number of years in dedicated gluten sensitivity/neurology and neuropathy clinics.
Results: Out of a total of 409 patients with different types of peripheral neuropathies, 53 (13%) had clinical and neurophysiologic evidence of sensory ganglionopathy. Out of these 53 patients, 17 (32%) had serologic evidence of gluten sensitivity. The mean age of those with gluten sensitivity was 67 years and the mean age at onset was 58 years. Seven of those with serologic evidence of gluten sensitivity had enteropathy on biopsy. Fifteen patients went on a gluten-free diet, resulting in stabilization of the neuropathy in 11. The remaining 4 had poor adherence to the diet and progressed, as did the 2 patients who did not opt for dietary treatment. Autopsy tissue from 3 patients demonstrated inflammation in the dorsal root ganglia with degeneration of the posterior columns of the spinal cord.
Conclusions: Sensory ganglionopathy can be a manifestation of gluten sensitivity and may respond to a strict gluten-free diet.