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Many People With Non-celiac Gluten Sensitivity Have Autoimmune Disease or Antinuclear Antibodies

Celiac.com 10/12/2015 - There's been a good deal of attention devoted to gluten sensitivity in people without celiac disease, but researchers still don't know much about potential risks associated with the condition.

Photo: CC--Arjan RichterA research team recently looked at the prevalence of autoimmune diseases among patients with non-celiac wheat sensitivity (NCWS), and investigated whether they carry antinuclear antibodies (ANA). The research team included A. Carroccio, A. D'Alcamo, F. Cavataio, M. Soresi, A. Seidita, C. Sciumè, G. Geraci, G. Iacono, and P. Mansueto.

They are variously affiliated with the DiBiMIS University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy; the department of Internal Medicine at Giovanni Paolo II Hospital in Sciacca, Italy; the DiBiMIS University of Palermo, in Palermo, Italy; the department of Pediatric Gastroenterology in ARNAS Di Cristina Hospital, Palermo, Italy; and the Surgery Department at the University of Palermo in Palermo, Italy.

The research team conducted a retrospective study of 131 patients diagnosed with NCWS, 121 of whom were female. The average patient age was 29.1 years, and the study was conducted at 2 hospitals in Italy from January 2001 through June 2011.

The team also collected data from 151 patients with celiac disease or irritable bowel syndrome, who served as control subjects. They reviewed patient medical records to identify those with autoimmune diseases. They then conducted a prospective study of 42 patients, 38 of whom were female, with an average age of 34 years, who had been diagnosed with NCWS from July 2011 through March 2014 at 3 hospitals in Italy.

For the prospective study, one hundred age- and sex-matched subjects with celiac disease or IBS served as control subjects.

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The team collected serum samples from all subjects and measured ANA levels using immunofluorescence analysis. Participants completed a questionnaire and the team reviewed patient medical records to identify those with autoimmune diseases.

In the retrospective analysis, about 30% of patients with either NCWS or celiac disease developed autoimmune diseases; mainly Hashimoto's thyroiditis, of which there were 29 cases. Compare this with about 4% of IBS who developed an autoimmune disease (P < .001).

In the prospective study, 24% of patients with NCWS, 20% of patients with celiac disease, and 2% of patients with IBS developed autoimmune diseases (P < .001).

In the retrospective study, serum samples tested positive for ANA in 46% of subjects with NCWS (median titer, 1:80), 24% of subjects with celiac disease (P < .001), and just 2% of subjects IBS (P < .001).

In the prospective study, serum samples were positive for ANA in 28% of subjects with NCWS, 7.5% of subjects with celiac disease (P = .02), and 6% of subjects with IBS (P = .005 vs patients with NCWS).

From these results, they conclude that positive ANA results are associated with the presence of the HLA DQ2/DQ8 haplotypes (P < .001).

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2 Responses:

 
John
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said this on
14 Oct 2015 9:46:39 AM PDT
I have NCWS and I also developed Hashimotos. Glad to see these studies continuing to yield data.

 
Michael
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said this on
19 Oct 2015 9:05:48 AM PDT
Since ANA antibodies were higher in NCGS patients than in celiac patients, I do not see how they concluded that positive ANA results are associated with DQ2/DQ8 haplotypes. There is no mention of how they associate NCGS exclusively with DQ2/DQ8, and I know that NCGS can be associated with DQ5, DQ6, DQ7 and DQ9 as well.




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It took me 20 years or more Barry so I wouldn't claim any great insight on this I had a 'eureka' moment, up until then I was walking around with multiple symptoms and not connecting any dots whatsoever. It is very, very difficult to diagnose and that's something that's reflected in so many of the experiences detailed here. A food diary may help in your case. It helped me to connect the gaps between eating and onset. It could help you to track any gluten sources should you go gluten free. It is possible for your reactions to change over time. As to whether its celiac, that's something you could explore with your doctor, stay on gluten if you choose to go that way. best of luck! Matt

I took Zoloft once. Loved it until it triggered microscopic colitis (colonoscopy diagnosed it). Lexapro did the same. However, I have a family member who is fiagnosed celiac and tolerates Celexa well.

Thanks for the update and welcome to the club you never wanted to join! ?

Jmg, I am glad you were able to come to the realisation that the culprit was in fact gluten. For me its not so simple. IBS runs in the family, as do several food intolerances. Its just in the last while that I can finally reach the conclusion that for me its gluten. The fact that it is a delayed effect-several hours after, made it harder. Friday I had some KFC, felt great. Saturday evening felt sleepy, Sunday felt awful and my belly was huge. I think I have gone from mildly sensitive to full blown celiac over the course of five years-if that possible. Thanks for all your help.

I thought I'd take a moment to provide an update, given how much lurking I've done on these forums the last year. It took a long time, but I've since had another gastroenterologist visit, many months of eating tons of bread, and an endoscopy where they took several biopsies. I have to say, the endoscopy was a super quick and efficient experience. During the procedure they let me know that it looked somewhat suspicious, causing them to take many biopsies, and then did comprehensive blood work. About a month later, I received a call telling me that the TTG came back positive a second time, and that the biopsies were a mix of negative (normal) results and some that were positive (showing blunting of the villi). As a result, I've been given a celiac diagnosis. It's been about a month now that I've been eating gluten free. Not sure if I'm really feeling all that different yet. It's a bit twisted to say, but in some way I was hoping for this diagnosis ? thinking how nice it would be to have an explanation, a plan of action, and feeling better. It's certainly no small change to be totally gluten free, but I'm hopeful.