Celiac Disease in Children with Atopic Dermatitis



Celiac disease (CD) is an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine with highly variable clinical presentation and frequently associated with various immune-mediated diseases. Among these immune-mediated diseases, atopy has been found frequently in individuals with CD. We aimed to study the prevalence of CD in Estonian children with atopic dermatitis (AD), a common multifactorial chronic inflammatory skin disease. We recruited 351 consecutive children with active AD (mean age 5.8 yrs, 57.6% boys) at Tallinn Children's Hospital, Estonia. Sera of all patients were tested for total serum immunoglobulin (Ig) A, for IgA- and IgG-type autoantibodies to tissue transglutaminase (IgA-anti-TG2, IgG-anti-TG2) and to deamidated gliadin peptides (IgA-anti-DGP, IgG-anti-DGP). The diagnosis of CD was confirmed histologically by small intestine biopsy according to the European Society of Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition diagnostic criteria. IgA deficiency was detected in nine patients with AD (2.6%), none of whom had IgG-anti-TG2 or IgG-anti-DGP seropositivity. IgA-anti-TG2 positivity was found in 4 (1.1%), IgG-anti-TG2 positivity in 2 (0.6%), IgA-anti-DGP positivity in 11 (3.1%), and IgG-anti-DGP in 10 (2.8%) patients. Celiac disease was confirmed in five (1.4%) patients with AD (95% confidence interval 0.46, 3.32) and all were histologically characterized as Marsh IIIa–IIIc stages and two presented with silent CD. In AD patients, CD prevalence was more than four times as high as in previously studied randomly selected schoolchildren in Estonia. Two patients with AD diagnosed with CD had no symptoms indicative of CD, in spite of extensive histologic changes in the small intestine mucosa. Therefore our study emphasizes the need for evaluating the cost-effectiveness of screening individuals with AD for CD in time to prevent long-term complications.