The Broad Spectrum of Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitive Enteropathy
The celiac disease is an immune chronic condition with genetic transmission, caused by the intolerance to gluten. Gluten is a protein from cereals containing the following soluble proteins: gliadine, which is the most toxic, and the prolamins. The average prevalence is about 1% in USA and Europe, but high in Africa: 5.6% in West Sahara. In the pathogenesis several factors are involved: gluten as external trigger, genetic predisposition (HLA, MYO9B), viral infections, abnormal immune reaction to gluten. Severity is correlated with the number of intraepithelial lymphocytes, cryptic hyperplasia and villous atrophy, as well as with the length of intestinal involvement. The severity is assessed according to the Marsh–Oberhuber staging. Diagnostic criteria are: positive serological tests, intestinal biopsy, the reversal after gluten free diet (GFD). Beside refractory forms, new conditions have been described, like the non celiac gluten intolerance. In a time when more and more people adhere to GFD for nonscientific reasons, practitioners should be updated with the progress in celiac disease knowledge.