Is celiac disease associated with Alzheimer's disease?


Giovanni B. Frisoni, Geriatric Research Group, via Romanino 1, 1-25122, Brescia, Italy


An increased prevalence of celiac disease has been reported in neurological disorders of unknown etiology. A large proportion of Alzheimer's cases is still of unexplained etiology. Thirty-three Alzheimer's patients and 24 elderly controls were screened for celiac disease. IgA and IgG antigliadin antibodies were assayed in serum samples with enzyme-linked immunoassay. Confirmation of celiac disease in positive subjects was made by assaying IgA anti-endomysium antibodies by indirect immunofluorescence. Two Alzheimer's patients and 2 controls were positive for antigliadin antibodies (6 versus 8%; NS). None was positive for anti-endomysium antibodies. We conclude that the prevalence of celiac disease in Alzheimer's disease is not higher than in cognitively unimpaired elders, suggesting that the immune changes in celiac disease are unlikely to play a role in Alzheimer's disease.