Background: Celiac disease (CD) patients adhering to a gluten-free diet (GFD) are exposed frequently to low levels of gluten that contribute to symptoms and persistent intestinal histologic damage.
Objective: We analyzed prior clinical data to determine how much gluten is accidentally consumed while on a GFD. The aim was to understand the range of gluten consumption for a wide distribution of CD patients.
Design: A meta-analysis was conducted on data from 2 different clinical programs: 1) measurements of gluten in stool and urine in CD and non-CD populations; and 2) analysis of data from trials for the investigational therapeutic latiglutenase. The stool and urine studies included controlled gluten challenges. A calibration factor was applied that allowed normal ingestion of gluten to be computed from the urine and stool measurements. From the latiglutenase trial data, a determination of gluten consumption was made by estimating how much gluten was eliminated from patients' diets due to a trial effect that led to improved histology even in the placebo group.
Results: The average inadvertent exposure to gluten by CD individuals on a GFD was estimated to be ∼150-400 (mean) and ∼100-150 (median) mg/d using the stool test and ∼300-400 (mean) and ∼150 (median) mg/d using the urine test. The analyses of the latiglutenase data for CD individuals with moderate to severe symptoms indicate that patients ingested significantly >200 mg/d of gluten.
Conclusions: These surrogate biomarkers of gluten ingestion indicate that many individuals following a GFD regularly consume sufficient gluten to trigger symptoms and perpetuate intestinal histologic damage.