Dig Dis Sci 2000;45:403-406.

(Celiac.com 04/10/2000) Italian researcher Dr. Tarcisio Not, of Clinica Pediatrica, I.R.C.C.S., Trieste, and colleagues, have concluded that a relatively high percentage of patients with autoimmune thyroiditis also have celiac disease. They studied 172 patients who had autoimmune thyroid disorders, and two control groups. Their control groups were comprised of 498 patients with other diseases, and 4,000 healthy patients. The method used by the researchers was a blood test that looks for IgA-class endomysium antibodies using immunofluorescence.

Their results, which were published in the February issue of Digestive Diseases and Sciences, show that the prevalence of celiac disease is 3.4% in patients with autoimmune thyroiditis, compared with 0.6% and 0.25% among the two control groups. They also found a connection between untreated celiac disease, gluten consumption, and autoimmune disorders. The researchers believe that undiagnosed celiac disease can cause other disorders by switching on some as yet unknown immunological mechanism. Untreated celiac patients produce organ-specific autoantibodies. Further, By following these subjects longitudinally, it has been seen that not only do the anti-gliadin antibodies and anti-endomysium antibodies disappear after 3 to 6 months of a gluten-free diet, but so do the organ-specific autoantibodies.

In conclusion the Italian researchers suggest that patients with autoimmune thyroiditis could benefit from a screening for celiac disease, which could eliminate the symptoms and limit the risk of developing other autoimmune disorders.

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