Celiac disease: a multi-faceted medical condition

J Physiol Pharmacol. 2020 Feb;71(1). doi: 10.26402/jpp.2020.1.01. Epub 2020 Apr 27.


Celiac disease (CD) is a systemic condition of autoimmune origin, affecting genetically predisposed individuals who at some point lose tolerance towards dietary gluten. Prevalence in the general population is 0.5 - 1%, with a higher frequency in women. The most important environmental factor for CD is ingestion of specific gluten peptides. It triggers a sequence of molecular events, involving the intestinal permeability and the immune system, which ends in damage of the intestinal mucosa. A number of studies have demonstrated the correlation between the intestinal microbiota and celiac disease. MicroRNAs through their regulatory role on gene expression have been implicated in the pathogenesis of CD and suggested as potential biomarkers. In the pediatric and adult population, CD displays different clusters of clinical symptoms. Persistent diarrhea, abdominal pain and involuntary weight loss are the classic symptoms of CD. In the majority of cases diagnosis relies on the combination of serum autoantibodies (anti-transglutaminase and anti-endomisium IgA) and duodenal biopsy showing villous atrophy, crypt hyperplasia and intraepithelial lymphocytes. Observance of a lifelong gluten-free diet, which interrupts the immune response to gluten peptides, is the only effective treatment of CD.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autoantibodies / blood*
  • Autoantibodies / immunology
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Celiac Disease / blood*
  • Celiac Disease / diagnosis
  • Celiac Disease / immunology*
  • Celiac Disease / therapy
  • Diet, Gluten-Free / methods*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / physiology*
  • Glutens / adverse effects
  • Glutens / immunology
  • Glutens / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / immunology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • MicroRNAs / immunology
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism


  • Autoantibodies
  • Biomarkers
  • MicroRNAs
  • Glutens