Celiac.com 06/08/2007 - In the first study, doctors Ibrahim S. Alghafeer, and Leonard H. Sigal conducted a routine gastroenterology follow-up of 200 adult celiac patients. Arthritis was present in 52 of 200 patients, or 26%. The arthritis was peripheral in 19 patients, Axial in 15 patients, and an overlap of the two in 18 patients. The doctors found that joint disease was much less common in those patients who were following a gluten-free diet (1).
A related study by Usai, et al found that 63% of patients with celiac disease show axial joint inflammation (2).
In that study, doctors conducted bone scintigraphy using 99m Tc methylene diphosphonate. 14 of these patients (65%) signs compatible with sacroiliitis. 11 of the 14 suffered from low back pain. In five of the 11 patients with low back pain, scintigraphy was negative. Sacroiliac radiographs were conducted on 4 of those 5 patients, and all of them were shown to have bilateral sacroiliitis. One patient had rheumatoid arthritis, but all patients in the studied showed negative HLA-B27 results.
In patients with gluten enteropathy, symptoms of arthritis and other rheumatic complaints are common, and the associated clinical abnormalities routinely show improvement on a gluten-free diet. (3,4,5)
In 9 of 74 patients with spondyloarthropathies, results show increased level of antigliadin antibodies, with 1 patient showing elevated antiendomysium antibodies and biopsy proven celiac disease (6). These results show that antiendomysial antibody testing is recommended as a screening tool in patients with suspected gluten enteropathy. Another study found that 3.3% of sprue patients had Sjogrens syndrome (7).
55 celiac patients who were tested for serial bone density showed osteoporosis in 50% of men and 47% of women. These findings confirm that celiac disease was an independent risk factor for osteoporosis (8).
Bulletin on the Rheumatic Diseases, Volume 51, Number 2.