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Vol. 26, No. 2, 2008
Issue release date: April 2008
Dig Dis 2008;26:121–127

Celiac Disease: What’s New about It?

Gasbarrini G. · Malandrino N. · Giorgio V. · Fundarò C. · Cammarota G. · Merra G. · Roccarina D. · Gasbarrini A. · Capristo E.
Departments of aInternal Medicine and bPediatrics, Catholic University of Rome, Rome, Italy

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In the present review we will try to summarize the clinical and diagnostic features of celiac disease (CD) as well as the new findings on extraintestinal manifestation. CD is an immune-mediated enteropathy caused by a permanent gluten intolerance. In the last years, the diagnosis is becoming more and more frequent because of the recognition of ‘new’ symptoms and associated extraintestinal manifestations. Classical CD is dominated by symptoms and sequelae of gastrointestinal malabsorption. In the ‘atypical forms’, the extraintestinal features usually predominate, with few or no gastrointestinal symptoms. Silent CD refers to asymptomatic patients with a positive serologic test and villous atrophy on biopsy. This form is detected by screening of high-risk individuals, or villous atrophy occasionally may be detected by endoscopy and biopsy conducted for another reason. The potential form is diagnosed in groups at risk including relatives of celiac patients, Down syndrome and autoimmune diseases. Latent CD is defined by positive serological tests but not histological changes on biopsy. These individuals are asymptomatic, but later may develop symptoms and/or histological alterations. Recognition of atypical manifestations of CD is very important because many cases can remain undiagnosed with an increased risk of long-term complications.

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