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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Do Flat Mucosa Always Mean Celiac Disease?

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Celiac.com 06/08/2016 - Sometimes, certain cases can stand out and grab the attention of clinicians or researchers. Such is the case of a 62-year-old woman who was suffering from severe malabsorption, and diagnosed with celiac disease based on the findings of flat, small intestinal mucosa and HLA-DQ2 positivity, although celiac blood tests were negative.

    A team of researchers questioned the diagnosis, because the woman showed no clinical or histological improvement after a long period of strict gluten-free diet.



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    The research team included U Volta, MG Mumolo, G Caio, E Boschetti, R Latorre, F Giancola, P Paterini, and R De Giorgio. They variously are affiliated with the Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences at the University of Bologna, and with the Gastroenterology Unit in the Department of Gastroenterology at the University of Pisa in Italy.

    Based on the detection of enterocyte autoantibodies, the team found that the correct diagnosis for the woman was autoimmune enteropathy. After appropriate immunosuppressive treatment, the woman experienced the disappearance of all symptoms, and a complete recovery.

    Based on this case, the team notes that doctors should consider autoimmune enteropathy in the differential diagnosis of malabsorption with severe villous atrophy, including those cases with negative celiac-related serology.

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    My doctor thought I was noncompliant and I thought I was being poisoned by restaurants when I traveled. Turned out that I was allergic to Xanthan Gum -- gave me the same cramps & diarrhea as grains and gluten. I don't see this mentioned very often.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,500 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.


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  • Related Articles

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 03/18/2015 - Getting high-quality biopsy specimens is key to making accurate celiac disease diagnoses. Endoscopists may take either a single- or double-biopsy specimen with each pass of the forceps.
    Does it matter whether they take one or two? Is two better than one?
    A team of researchers recently set out to answer those questions, by comparing the quality of biopsy specimens obtained with the single-biopsy and double-biopsy techniques.
    The research team includes M. Latorre, S.M. Lagana, D.E. Freedberg, S.K. Lewis, B. Lebwohl, G. Bhagat, and P. H. Green of the Celiac Disease Center, Department of Medicine, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA.
    Their prospective cohort study looked at patients undergoing upper endoscopy with confirmed, suspected, or unknown celiac disease status. A total of 86 patients enrolled in the study, 47% with known celiac disease, 36% with suspected celiac disease, and 17% with an unknown celiac disease status.
    In each case, patients received four biopsy specimens from the second portion of the duodenum. Two were made using the single-biopsy technique of 1 bite per pass of the forceps, and two more using the double-biopsy technique, which takes 2 bites per pass of the forceps.
    Specimens were blindly reviewed to determine orientation, consecutive crypt-to-villous units, and Marsh score. Well-oriented biopsy specimens were noted in 66% of patients with the single-biopsy technique and 42% of patients with the double-biopsy technique (P < .01).
    Analysis of matched pairs showed improved orientation with the single-biopsy technique (odds ratio 3.1; 95% confidence interval, 1.5-7.1; P < .01). This persisted in subgroup analysis of patients with known celiac disease (P = .02), villous atrophy (P = .02), and a final diagnosis of celiac disease (P < .01).
    Now, this is just a single-center trial, so results need to be compared with results from additional cities.
    Interestingly, these results suggest that one bite is actually better than two, because the single-biopsy technique improves the yield of well-oriented duodenal biopsy specimens.
    For best results, the endoscopists should consider taking only one biopsy specimen per pass of the forceps in patients undergoing biopsies of the duodenal mucosa.
    Source:
    Gastrointest Endosc. 2015 Jan 29. pii: S0016-5107(14)02380-3. doi: 10.1016/j.gie.2014.10.024.


    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 07/15/2015 - Current celiac disease call for a follow-up biopsy taken 1 year after diagnosis to monitor gut recovery. Many celiac patients show incomplete gut recovery at that time, but there’s not much research to help doctors figure out how significant this might be.
    A team of researchers recently investigated associated factors and the significance of imperfect gut recovery in patients in whom the follow-up had been completed. The research team included Henna Pekki, Kalle Kurppa, Markku Mäki, Heini Huhtala, Harri Sievänen, Kaija Laurila, Pekka Collin and Katri Kaukinen.
    They are variously affiliated with the Medical School and the School of Health Sciences at the University of Tampere, the Tampere Center for Child Health Research at the University of Tampere and Tampere University Hospital in Tampere, Finland, the UKK Institute inTampere, Finland, the Department of Gastroenterology and Alimentary Tract Surgery, and the Department of Internal Medicine, Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland.
    For their study, the team split 263 biopsy-proven celiac patients into two groups: one with histological recovery, and the other with incomplete recovery, after one year on gluten-free diet. The team measured serology, laboratory values, bone mineral density, and various clinical variables at diagnosis and after one year.
    They used validated questionnaires to assess gastrointestinal symptoms and quality of life, and also gathered further long-term follow-up data on mortality, malignancies, and other severe complications.
    The results showed that the incomplete recovery group had more severe mucosal damage (P=0.003), higher antibody values (P=0.017), and more signs of malabsorption at diagnosis (P<0.001).
    The data showed no difference in gender, symptoms or quality of life, family history of celiac disease, or co-morbidities.
    Follow-up showed a difference in antibodies (P=0.018) and femoral T-scores (P=0.024).
    Histologically recovered patients showed better gluten-free dietary adherence, although both groups reported close adherence to a gluten-free diet (97% for recovered group, versus 87% for the incomplete group (P<0.001).
    Interestingly, there was no difference in long-term outcomes between groups. Although, patients with more severe celiac disease in terms of histology, serology, and signs of malabsorption were more likely to show histological non-response.
    Patients who closely follow a gluten-free diet, incomplete villous recovery after 1 year does not affect the clinical response or long-term prognosis.

    Source:
    The American Journal of Gastroenterology , (2 June 2015). doi:10.1038/ajg.2015.155


    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 11/10/2015 - Doctors might not need a biopsy to accurately diagnose celiac disease in asymptomatic children who have elevated anti-tTG, according to the latest study.
    In that study, researchers in Italy evaluated a new biopsy-sparing protocol for diagnosing celiac disease in symptomatic children with high anti-transglutaminase (anti-tTG). Their data showed that this approach might also work in asymptomatic children with elevated antibody levels.
    In 2012, the European Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hematology, and Nutrition (ESPGHAN) published guidelines that said biopsies could be omitted in children and adolescents with signs and symptoms of celiac disease if they met certain guidelines.
    Dr. Francesco Valitutti of Rome's Sapienza University led a team that set out to assess the accuracy of serological tests to diagnose celiac disease in asymptomatic patients in 286 children and adolescents who had been diagnosed with celiac disease.
    Among 196 patients with anti-tTG antibodies at least 10 times ULN and EMA positive, 156 had symptoms and 40 were asymptomatic. More than 90% of the symptomatic children (142/156, 91%) showed severe lesion degree on biopsy, and an even higher percentage of asymptomatic patients (37/40, 92.5%) had severe lesions.
    There was no significant difference in histological damage between the "high-titer" symptomatic and asymptomatic children, according to the September 15th online report in The American Journal of Gastroenterology. Among the EMA positive children with lower titers of anti-tTG antibodies, 70% of symptomatic children and 81% of asymptomatic children showed severe lesions.
    The researchers add that asymptomatic patients should follow a gluten-free diet "as strictly as symptomatic ones, in order to prevent other autoimmune diseases and enteropathy-associated T-cell lymphoma."
    Otherwise, the new guidelines apply to patients with: TTG > 10 times ULN; an EMA of at least 1:80; a positive repeat serology to exclude laboratory error; HLA-DQ2 and/or -8 positivity; and a serological response to a gluten-free diet.
    If the research team can confirm these results in larger, multi-center prospective studies, their 'biopsy-sparing' protocol might be made available "to both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients with anti-tTG antibody titer (at least) 10 times the upper limit of normal (ULN) and anti-endomysial antibodies (EMA) and HLA-DQ2/DQ8 positive," Dr. Valitutti told reporters.
    Source:
    Am J Gastroenterol 2015


    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 04/04/2016 - Any one eager to try the first approved treatment for celiac disease might not have to wait much longer.
    Alba Therapeutics has announced that their celiac treatment, larazotide acetate, will enter the first Phase 3 clinical trials ever conducted in a celiac disease drug later this year.
    Lorazotide acetate works by improving regulation of tight junctions in the bowel. In healthy people, these junctions remain closed except to shed dead cells, but in patients with celiac disease, gluten keeps tight junctions open, triggering an inflammatory reaction that eventually destroys the intestinal villi, tiny, finger-like projections in the small intestine that are essential for nutrient absorption.
    Early research suggests larazotide acetate helps to keep the tight junctions closed when it's taken before a meal, thus stopping, or reducing the reaction and the resulting inflammation.
    Larazotide acetate recently completed during phase 2b clinical trials for efficacy, safety and tolerability in 342 patients with celiac disease. Those trials showed larazotide acetate to be safe and effective in a "real world setting" for celiac patients, according to Alba's website.
    The treatment is now headed to Phase 3 trials in "late 2016", and has received "fast track" designation from the Food and Drug Administration.
    Alba has announced that Innovate Biopharmaceuticals Inc. has licensed all of Alba Therapeutics' assets related to larazotide acetate, and that larazotide acetate has been renamed INN-202.
    If approved on schedule, INN-202 will become the first prescription medicine for treating celiac disease.
    Source:
    Allergic Living


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