Histologic evaluation in the diagnosis and management of celiac disease: practical challenges, current best practice recommendations and beyond

Hum Pathol. 2023 Feb:132:20-30. doi: 10.1016/j.humpath.2022.07.017. Epub 2022 Aug 4.


Celiac disease (CD) is an immunoallergic enteropathy affecting genetically susceptible individuals upon dietary exposure to gluten. In current clinical practice, the diagnosis of CD is based on a combination of clinical, serologic, and histologic factors with the possible exception of pediatric patients. Histopathologic evaluation of small intestinal tissue plays a critical role in the disease diagnosis and management, despite many practical challenges. Recently published best practice guidelines help to standardize biopsy sample procurement, tissue preparation, histology interpretation, and reporting, to optimize patient care. In addition, an increasing demand for monitoring the disease course, particularly demonstrating the efficacy of dietary and nondietary interventions for disease management, calls for the use of quantitative histology. With the advent of a gradual transition toward digital pathology in routine diagnostic practice, quantitative histopathologic evaluation in CD shows a promising future.

Keywords: Celiac disease; Collagenous sprue; Q-MARSH; Refractory celiac disease; Ultrashort celiac disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Celiac Disease* / diagnosis
  • Celiac Disease* / therapy
  • Child
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans