Celiac.com 04/29/2005 – In an effort to determine the occurrence of growth hormone deficiency (GFD) in children with celiac disease, Italian researchers evaluated 1,066 children who were diagnosed with short stature. All patients were screened for celiac disease using anti-endomysial antibodies (EMA), and those with positive results were given a follow-up biopsy. The researchers found that 210 or 19.7% of the children had GHD, and of these12 also had positive EMA and biopsy and were diagnosed with celiac disease. After one year on a gluten-free diet 9 of these 12 children showed marked growth improvement, while the remaining 3 showed no catch-up growth. Additional tests found an isolated GHD in one of the children, and multiple GHDs in the other 2 children. Growth hormone therapy was initiated in addition to a gluten-free diet in these 3 children, which led to an increase in their growth rate.
The researchers conclude that growth hormone should be evaluated in those with celiac disease whose growth does not improve on a gluten-free diet, and growth hormone therapy should be started in these individuals while on a gluten-free diet.