In adults with coeliac disease, intestinal damage doesn’t always heal

Coeliac disease is a serious inflammatory condition of the gut which doesn’t always heal, according to research carried out by Dr Joseph A Murray from Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, Minnesota USA. Clinical response is observed in most adults with coeliac disease after treatment with a gluten-free diet, however the rate of mucosal recovery of the gut is less certain. This study aimed to assess the rates of mucosal recovery in adults on a gluten-free diet and the implications of persistent mucosal damage.

Dr Murray and colleagues analysed mucosal recovery and all-cause mortality in 241 adults with biopsy-proven celiac disease who had diagnostic and follow-up biopsies. All patients showed some intestinal villous atrophy and nearly half had total villous atrophy. In 165 patients who had follow-up biopsies within two years of diagnosis, only 35% had mucosal recovery. Of the whole 241 patients, after two years 34% had mucosal recovery, and after five years 66% had mucosal recovery. Eighty-two percent had some clinical response to the gluten-free diet, but this was not a clinical marker of mucosal recovery. Those who had poor results with a gluten-free diet, severe celiac disease symptoms such as diarrhoea and weight loss also had persistent mucosal damage.

Dr Murray recommended intestinal biopsy one year after diagnosis, with close surveillance and a follow-up review of diet.

Source: The American Journal of Gastroenterology

Click here for more research on coeliac disease


Top of page

If you found this article interesting, you will find many more general articles and research reports on coeliac disease here, and lots of information on the management of coeliac disease here.
You can also find articles and research reports on gluten intolerance here and articles on a wide range of other digestive conditions here.

For hundreds of gluten free foods see our freefrom food section here, and for nearly 800 gluten-free recipes see here.

And if you would like to get our FREE fortnightly e-newsletter with new products, recipes, articles and all the latest news from the allergy and freefrom world, just sign up here.