The prevalence of celiac disease in patients with geographic tongue

J Oral Pathol Med. 2016 Nov;45(10):791-796. doi: 10.1111/jop.12450. Epub 2016 May 1.


Background: Geographic tongue (GT) is a benign inflammatory condition usually involving the dorsal surface and lateral borders of the tongue. Numerous etiological factors of GT have been suggested, including immunological factors; genetic; atopic or allergic predisposition; emotional stress; and hormonal disturbances. GT may also coexist as one of the possible manifestations of celiac disease (CD). Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of CD, positive serologic tests for CD screening, and HLA-DQ presence in patients with GT.

Methods: Tissue transglutaminase antibodies (anti-tTG), antibodies against gliadin (AGA), and human leukocyte antigen (HLA) typing were assessed for 60 GT patients and 60 healthy control subjects. The duodenal biopsy was performed in patients with positive serologic tests.

Results: We found that 9 (15%) GT patients were positive for IgA tTG, and in those patients histological changes consistent with CD were confirmed by duodenal biopsy. Only two of them reported the presence of gastrointestinal symptoms. There were statistically significant differences between the GT patients and control group for immunoglobulin (Ig) A tTG (P = 0.03), IgG tTG (P = 0.04), IgA AGA (P = 0.04), and IgG AGA (P = 0.02).

Conclusion: The results of our study demonstrated the increased prevalence of CD in patients with GT. Therefore, the clinical oral examination should be considered a diagnostic tool, especially in atypical or silent forms of CD, since it may contribute to provide an early diagnosis.

Keywords: antibodies to gliadin; celiac disease; duodenal biopsy; geographic tongue; tissue transglutaminase antibodies.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / epidemiology
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / immunology
  • Biopsy
  • Celiac Disease / diagnosis
  • Celiac Disease / epidemiology*
  • Celiac Disease / immunology
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Glossitis, Benign Migratory / diagnosis
  • Glossitis, Benign Migratory / epidemiology*
  • Glossitis, Benign Migratory / immunology
  • Histocompatibility Testing
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence