New Insights in Clinical Medicine

New Insights in Celiac Disease

David Branski


Celiac disease (CD) is an autoimmune disorder occurring in genetically susceptible subjects. The incidence of CD is around 1%, and it is much more common in first-degree relatives of CD patients, 10%–18%. However, the pattern of the genetic inheritance is still obscure. Environmental factors are undoubtedly affecting the disease’s clinical presentation, time at presentation, and maybe effect on the characteristics of the disease. The clinical presentation of CD has shifted during the previous decades from the classical presentation in which the toddler suffers from diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, failure to thrive, abdominal distension, etc., to the child with a monosymptomatic presentation, such as anemia, as well as an enlarged list of extra-intestinal disorders. The diagnosis of CD is being established by symptoms consistent with CD and positive serology. The ultimate diagnosis should be made upon histological evaluation of the small bowel mucosa. The treatment of CD is a lifelong, strict gluten-free diet (GFD). Compliance with a GFD is quite difficult. Therefore, new strategies for prevention and treatment modalities other than GFD are greatly needed. Recently several promising therapeutic modalities have been developed; these include resuming traditional baking techniques. Another methodology is using probiotic-driven prolylendopeptidase. Another pathway to tackle the therapeutic option in CD is by down-regulation of the activity of zonulin—the active pump enabling gluten to enter the enterocytes. We are facing an era where other modalities beyond a GFD might allow CD patients to be able to tolerate occasionally a small amount of gluten in their diet.

Rambam Maimonides Med J 2012;3(1):e0006