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    Jefferson Adams

    Gluten-Free Diet and Steroids Effective for Most Cases of Collagenous Sprue

    Jefferson Adams
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    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Steroids and a GFD to Treat Collagenous Sprue
    Caption: Steroids and a GFD to Treat Collagenous Sprue

    Celiac.com 05/04/2010 - A team of clinicians recently set out to assess the effectiveness of treating collagenous sprue with a combination of gluten-free diet and steroids.

    The team was made up of Alberto Rubio-Tapia, Nicholas J. Talley, Suryakanth R. Gurudu, Tsung-Teh Wu, and Joseph A. Murray. They are affiliated variously with the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology of the Mayo Clinics in Scottsdale, Arizona, Jacksonville, Florida, and Rochester, Minnesota, and the Division of Anatomic Pathology in Rochester Mayo Clinic.



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    Deposits of subepithelial collagen that form a distinctive band in the small bowel are one of the clinical hallmarks of collagenous sprue.

    For the study, the team evaluated clinical characteristics, treatments, and outcomes of patients with collagenous sprue. The team looked at medical records for thirty patients with collagenous sprue from the Mayo Clinics from Scottsdale, Jacksonville, and Rochester, for the periods covering 1993 and 2009.

    21 of the patients were female (70%), ranging in age from 53–91 years. The majority of patients suffered from severe diarrhea and weight loss.

    However, collagenous spore is commonly associated with collagen deposits or chronic inflammation in other parts of the gastrointestinal tract, as well as other immune-mediated disorders.

    16 patients (53%) were hospitalized to treat dehydration, while 21 patients (70%) suffered from associated immune-mediated diseases, the most common of which was celiac disease. Other common associated diseases included microscopic colitis, hypothyroidism, and autoimmune enteropathy.

    Subjects showed subepithelial layers of collagen deposits in the small bowel ranging from 20 –56.5μm, and averaging 29 μm thickness. Eight patients showed subepithelial collagen deposits in the colon or stomach.

    24 patients (80%) showed a positive clinical response to treatment with a combination of a gluten-free diet and immunosuppressive drugs. Nine patients showed confirmed histologic improvement, while five patients experienced complete remission. Of two patients who died, one succumbed to complications from collagenous sprue, while one died of another illness.

    Most patients with collagenous sprue show a positive clinical response to a combination of gluten-free diet and steroids.

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  • About Me

    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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