Rare Complications of Celiac Disease: Clinicopathologic Features

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Mukund Tinguria


Celiac disease (CD) is an immune mediated disorder characterised by intolerance to glutens in certain grains like whet, barley, and rye. The exposure to gliadin protein component in the susceptible individuals leads to an inflammatory reaction damaging small bowel mucosa with progressive disappearance of intestinal villi. The damaged intestinal mucosa leads to malabsorption. The usual symptoms of celiac disease include diarrhea, steatorrhea, weight loss, fatigue, and abdominal pain. Diagnosis is based on clinical features, duodenal biopsy, elevated levels of anti-gliadin antibodies and response to gluten free diet. Contrary to common belief, celiac disease is a protein systemic disease rather than merely a pure digestive alteration. Celiac disease is closely associated with genes that code HLA -II antigens mainly of DQ2 and DQ8 classes, production of disease specific antibodies (i.e., endomysial antibodies), multiorgan involvement, comorbidity with other autoimmune diseases (shared autoimmunity), familial aggregation, and immune system dysregulation.

The clinical presentation of celiac disease can be variable. In mild form, patients can be almost asymptomatic whereas in the most severe form, the patients are at increased risk of life-threatening complications. Celiac disease has a well-known association with other autoimmune diseases such as autoimmune liver diseases (autoimmune hepatitis, primary biliary cirrhosis, primary sclerosing cholangitis), diabetes mellitus, autoimmune thyroid diseases, skin diseases such as dermatitis herpetiformis, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, Sjogren’s syndrome, psoriasis, sarcoidosis, immune thrombocytopenic purpura, and pancreatitis. In addition, celiac disease may be associated with rare but potentially serious complications such as, collagenous sprue, ulcerative jejunoileitis, refractory celiac disease (RCD), enteropathy associated T-cell lymphoma, small bowel adenocarcinoma (SBA), hyposplenism, and cavitating mesenteric lymph node syndrome (CMLNS). The present article describes clinicopathologic features of these rare but serious complications of celiac disease.

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TINGURIA, Mukund. Rare Complications of Celiac Disease: Clinicopathologic Features. Medical Research Archives, [S.l.], v. 11, n. 4, apr. 2023. ISSN 2375-1924. Available at: <https://esmed.org/MRA/mra/article/view/3763>. Date accessed: 23 feb. 2024. doi: https://doi.org/10.18103/mra.v11i4.3763.
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