No popular authors found.

Get's E-Newsletter


No categories found.

Ads by Google:

Questions? Join Our Forum:
~1 Million Posts
& Over 66,000 Members!


Study Shows that Celiac-associated Intestinal Degradation May Take Years to Show Up after Reintroducing Gluten into the Diet 10/30/2007 - Many studies over the years have supported the idea that celiac disease is a permanent condition, and that those who strayed from the strict gluten-free diet that forms the core of celiac treatment risked relapsing and suffering the telltale intestinal damage associated with celiac disease. However, it was generally assumed that symptoms of celiac disease and associated intestinal degradation occurred within two years of reintroducing gluten back into the diet.

The medical journal GUT recently published a paper by Matysiak-Budnik et al. concerning the natural history of celiac disease, which indicates that classic celiac damage to the intestinal lining may take years or decades to develop in some cases. A team of researchers looked at 61 adults who had been diagnosed with celiac disease as children, and who felt themselves to be asymptomatic for anywhere from 3 to 21 years, with a group average of 11 years. An exam revealed that 48 of the 61 test subjects indeed showed villous atrophy with crypt hypoplasia. The 13 other patients showed no celiac-associated intestinal damage.

Strangely, 2 of the 13 patients with no signs of damage had showed such damage a short time after gluten was reintroduced into their diets, only to return to normal as they continued to consume gluten. From this, the researchers concluded that some people might actually become truly latent and tolerate gluten with no adverse effects. It’s also possible that such people actually still have celiac disease and that the intestinal damage has yet to recur, as villous atrophy occurs only at the tail end of celiac disease.

In fact, delayed relapse of celiac disease after gluten reintroduction supports the notion that people with normal mucosa may in fact have celiac disease. Still, it is highly uncommon for patients with celiac disease to show no clinical symptoms on a long-term gluten-inclusive diet. The level of CD+ intraepithelial lymphocytes has proven to be more useful than mucosal Marsh Type 1 lymphocytes in revealing early developing celiac disease in such cases and in general.

Ads by Google:

Reliable diagnosis of celiac disease is important, as untreated celiac disease carries a broad range of associated risks including markedly higher rates of certain cancers. A recent study also suggests celiac disease may also adversely impact both the peripheral the central nervous systems.

However, regarding the 13 asymptomatic patients, the original diagnosis of celiac would seem to be accurate in each case, as each had celiac-type HLA, either HLA DQ2 or DQ8, and their follow-up exam results showed that 5 of those patients had positive serum antibody results and higher densities of small bowel mucosa CD+ and CD3+ intraepithelial lymphocytes than did the non-celiac control groups. Two of the 13 patients developed symptoms of a relapse during the follow-up.

The study team concluded that the “2 year rule” for reintroducing gluten is invalid and supports the view that celiac disease exists beyond villous atrophy. As villous atrophy of the small intestine is only one manifestation of genetic gluten intolerance, and that the present diagnostic guidelines based on mucosal damage and ignoring early developing celiac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis is only one incarnation of celiac disease.

GUT 2007; 56:1339-1340

Katri Kaukinen, Pekka Collin, Medical School, University of Tampere and Department of Gastroenterology and Alimentary Tract Surgery, Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland Markku Ma¨ki, Medical School, University of Tampere and Department of Paediatrics, Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland welcomes your comments below (registration is NOT required).

Related Articles

14 Responses:

Judy Grainger
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
31 Oct 2007 4:41:59 PM PST
This is an informative article.

Hong Yu
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
31 Oct 2007 5:07:59 PM PST
Thanks for your information!

Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingempty Unrated
said this on
31 Oct 2007 5:20:19 PM PST
I'm new at this and this is some good information.

Ursula Stouffer
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
01 Nov 2007 7:38:46 AM PST
Very informative, and if confirms the fact that celiac disease is so much more than just villous atrophy.

Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
01 Nov 2007 10:43:07 AM PST
The conclusions match my experience with celiac disease as far as I can tell. I can cheat on my gluten-free diet and feel joint pain and other autoimmune symptoms for 2 or 3 days without noticing changes in my nutrition after that. In other words my hair doesn't fall out and my skin turn gray from one piece of birthday cake.

lynn haddon
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingempty Unrated
said this on
01 Nov 2007 3:48:22 PM PST
Does this lead to the conclusion that the 'gold standard' for diagnosis - biopsy proven may be only one indication of celiac disease and that other manifestations should be given equal attention? Concise and informative.
thanks Jeff.

Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
03 Nov 2007 6:14:55 PM PST
Very informative- mother adheres to gluten free diet more religiously than daughter. Daughter 'falls off the wagon' on occasion. This article lends credence to her side affects.

Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingemptyratingempty Unrated
said this on
04 Nov 2007 5:18:25 PM PST
I'm confused - is this article saying that you can go back to eating gluten eventually or not? I was under the impression that once diagnosed as celiac, you could never consume gluten again without damaging your intestines. It sounds like this article is saying that isn't the case. Actually, it sounds like this article's authors are saying two contradictory things - that many patients can go back to eating wheat without any symptoms recurring and that patients should never go back to eating wheat. And, I've never heard of a two-year gold standard for eating gluten again. I just don't think the article is very clear on what the actual implications are for people with celiac disease.

Jay Coe
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
05 Nov 2007 9:14:46 AM PST
This confirms what I have suspected.

Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingempty Unrated
said this on
07 Nov 2007 7:21:02 AM PST
After reading the article and comments posted, I can see the source of the confusion. I cannot have a crumb of gluten, and it is very hard sometimes to find the source. I know other celiacs who cheat and I've always told them they are only cheating themselves. When I complained to my doctor once about being so sensitive to gluten, he told me I was the lucky one?? He then told me that at least I knew the damage was being done and could find the source and prevent it. People that aren't aware they are being contaminated by gluten are causing damage to their bodies and don't know it. Celiac disease isn't just a gut disorder, it affects many other body functions. So, if you call that lucky, then I guess I am!

Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingemptyratingemptyratingempty Unrated
said this on
13 Nov 2007 6:06:15 PM PST
I agree the info seems to be informative, but I left feeling confused about about eating gluten in the future???? Never heard of the 2-year rule!

Margaret Marchant
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingempty Unrated
said this on
19 Nov 2007 5:51:05 PM PST
I also found it somewhat confusing, but it also contained a lot of information that confirmed what I have experienced. The 2 year rule is new to me, but I'm new to gluten intolerance. is one of my few reliable sources. Thank you for this addition.

Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
21 Nov 2007 2:09:40 PM PST
The conclusion is right on. I have been suffering from gluten intolerance w/o celiac sprue for years undiagnosed and took a test by Enterolab that find out my gluten intolerance through a stool test and genetic test. The idea is that it can diagnose gluten intolerance long before you end up with the malnutrition, osteoporosis, etc. that finally convinces the Dr. to screen you for it. I am lucky. I had been complaining of generalized aches, chronic fatigue, post-nasal drip etc. I couldn't work or exercise cause I was too weak and tired, but I had no signs of malnutrition, because my small intestine was not damaged...yet!

Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
30 Oct 2008 1:20:27 PM PST
Ok, but i take out other idea from this article.

-- I suppose that the problem is gluten, but in what quantity. May be that with small quantities of ingestion, don't exist other problems apart from intestine-damages, that is, Autism, nervous-systems, ...

This question is very important for my, because I am able to have a dinner with my friends and eat small bread pieces ... and I feel like a normal person.

Rate this article and leave a comment:
Rating: * Poor Excellent
Your Name *: Email (private) *:

In's Forum Now:

Sure, you should consider getting tested for celiac disease. There is no test for Non-Celiac Gluten Intolerance or Sensivity. However, you have to be consuming gluten daily for at least 12 weeks as ALL celiac tests require you to be consuming gluten. Learn more about testing: http:/...

Welcome Isabel! It is hard having celiac disease, but after a while it does get easier. Just so you know, I am an adult, but I am a Girl Scout Leader, have a daughter who is 16 and one of my daughter?s friends was just diagnosed with celiac disease just three weeks ago! Social...

I have two suggestions. First try switching to mostly natural gluten free foods. It makes the diet much easier. Second, i know you said you know the consequences, but really think deeply. in some ways, gluten is poison to your intestines. it literally eats away at it! so next time you think about...

I?m in middle school and here is my story of celiacs. i was short all my life and had mild stomach aches. Finally, about a year and a half ago, my doctors realized it was celiacs. The blood tests came back positive for it, so i got the endoscopy. sure enough, i had celiacs. it is so hard for me f...

Hey I?m around the same age! I get it and feel the same way. I was diagnosed only over a year ago and my celiacs very hard to deal with at social events. But what ever you do, don?t cheat the diet! The consequences will come back. I?m here to chat if anyone needs support