Celiac.com 06/10/2016 - Do all patients with potential celiac disease need a gluten-free diet? The transformation of potential celiac disease to full-blown celiac disease has been described in some western clinical studies, but there is no good data on cases in Asia.
Recently, a team of researchers set out to study the short-term histological course of potential celiac disease in Indian patients. The research team included R Kondala, AS Puri, AK Banka, S Sachdeva, and P Sakhuja. They are variously affiliated with the Department of Gastroenterology and the Department of Pathology at Govind Ballabh Pant Hospital, New Delhi, India.
Patients a Marsh-0 to Marsh-II lesion on duodenal biopsy, along with positive IgA tTG serology met the definition of celiac disease. The team retested for serology and histology at 6-month and 12 months.
The team diagnosed 23 male and 34 female patients with potential celiac disease. Patients ranged from 4-73 years old, averaging 28.7 years. Of these 57 patients, 28 were identified by screening 192 first-degree relatives of 55 index cases of celiac disease, while the remaining 29 had either IBS-D or IDA. Duodenal biopsy showed Marsh-0, Marsh-I and Marsh-II changes in 28 celiac patients, 27 IBS-D patients, and 2 IDA patients.
After 6 months, 12 patients became seronegative, while the remaining 45 patients continued to be seropositive at the 12-month time point. Only four patients moved to Marsh III status, while progression from Marsh-0 to either Marsh-I or Marsh-II occurred in six patients and one patient, respectively.
Meanwhile, 14 patients with Marsh-I did show regression to Marsh-0. Of the two patients who were initially Marsh-II, one remained so upon follow up and one showed favorable regression to Marsh-0 status.
This study shows that, even though almost 80% of the patients diagnosed have potential celiac disease continue to remain seropositive for tTG 12 months later, only 7% slipped to Marsh-III over the same time period.
According to this team, these observations do not justify starting a gluten-free diet in all patients with potential celiac disease, in India.
With all due respect to the research team, I wonder what would happen to these patients if they were followed over a greater time span? Would their conditions worsen? Clearly some longer term follow-up of such patients is warranted.
Also, how many such patients would see an even greater regression of their symptoms and Marsh status if they followed a gluten-free diet? This study doesn’t tell us much about the possible benefits of a gluten-free diet in cases of potential celiac disease, just that, absent a gluten-free diet, some patients worsen and some improve.