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Celiac Disease found in 4% of Adult Acetylcholine Receptor Antibody Positive Myasthenia Gravis 11/22/2009 - Celiac disease has been associated with numerous other auto-immune disorders. Recently, there appeared the case of a 40-yr-old competitive strongman with celiac disease, who responded to a gluten-free diet, but developed profound and generalized motor weakness with acetylcholine receptor antibody positive myasthenia gravis, a disorder reported to occur in about 1 in 5000 people.

A team of researchers set out to further explore this possible relationship between myasthenia gravis and celiac disease via serological study.

The research team was made up of Hugh J Freeman, Helen R Gillett, Peter M Gillett, Joel Oger of the Department of Medicine (Gastroenterology and Neurology) at Canada's University of British Columbia.

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The researchers performed celiac disease screens on frozen stored serum samples from 23 acetylcholine receptor antibody positive myasthenia gravis patients with no intestinal

They examined both endomysial and tissue transglutaminase antibodies. One in 23 samples (or, about 4.3%) tested positive for both IgA-endomysial and IgA tissue transglutaminase antibodies. Subsequent endoscopic study showed duodenal mucosal scalloping, while biopsies confirmed the histopathological changes of celiac disease. 

From this, they concluded that celiac disease and myasthenia gravis may occur together more often than is currently understood. Muscle weakness in celiac disease may be a sign of possible occult myasthenia gravis, even in the absence of intestinal symptoms.

World J Gastroenterol 2009 October 14; 15(38): 4741-4744 welcomes your comments below (registration is NOT required).

5 Responses:

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said this on
22 Nov 2009 6:17:39 PM PDT
I also have MG and developed celiacs later on. And, I might add, a few more auto immune challenges!

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said this on
01 Dec 2009 4:34:23 PM PDT
I am 52, and I have a Celiac disease, which was diagnosed 2 years ago.
My mother had MG and Thymoma, she passed away at 68 years of age, after fighting it for 8 years. We had no idea about Celiac disease at that time. After reading this article, I may only suspect (considering my Celiac condition), that most likely she had Celiac as well.

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said this on
28 Feb 2011 9:29:54 AM PDT
My father recently died from M.G. I am having some symptoms of celiac disease also. Am curious if they are related.

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said this on
11 May 2011 8:57:17 AM PDT
I was diagnosed with Celiac two years ago and MG a year ago. In addition, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's and thyroid cancer six months ago. I definitely believe all of these things are related and am glad the scientists are looking into it also.

Christopher Paietta
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said this on
21 Feb 2014 1:23:55 PM PDT
I was diagnosed with celiac disease, and immediately started a gluten-free diet, which was not very effective, for several years. After a few years I was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis, and it wasn't until I started the MG treatment, that the gluten-free diet became fully effective. They were obviously indirectly affecting each other.

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