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Minerva Medica 2006 April;97(2):191-203

language: Italian

Reproduction, endocrine disorders and celiac disease: risk factors of osteoporosis

Stazi A. V. 1, Trinti B. 2,3

1 Reparto di Tossicologia Genetica Dipartimento Ambiente e connessa Prevenzione Primaria Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Roma
2 Istituto di Ingegneria Biomedica CNR, Roma
3 Dipartimento di Medicina Sperimentale e Patologia Università La Sapienza, Roma


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In genetically predisposed individuals, celiac disease (CD) is permanent intolerance to gluten. Besides the overt enteropathy, there are clinical and subclinical forms which appear later in life; target organs include liver, thyroid, skin and reproductive systems. CD interference is related to the different concurrent genetic-environmental factors, showing multifactorial nature. CD induces malabsorption with consequent deficiencies of micronutrients essential for organogenesis, spermatogenesis and bone structure, such as vitamin D and calcium. In fact, among extraintestinal manifestations of CD, osteoporosis deserves attention because it can be a sign of silent CD. In celiac patients’ serum, cytochinic imbalance related to bone loss is present; in vitro these sera act on the osteoblastic activity. The IL-1b is also present in celiac patients’ relatives, confirming the genetic predisposition to its etiopathogenesis which is also regulated by endocrine-environmental factors. In females, CD acts indirectly on the bone, determining early menopause and amenorrhea. Even frequent pregnancies and long periods of lactation can bring to bone loss; in such periods, silent CD can appear, suggesting the presence of endocrine-immunology factors. In celiac males, osteoporosis presence, besides calcium and vitamin D deficiencies, is associated to growth hormone deficit and hypogonadism, which is related to hyperprolactinemia, endocrine factors which affect the reproduction. Osteoporosis is relevant among the elderly and vitamin D and calcium supplementations are important to people diagnosed with CD later in life. Thus, to prevent damages such as osteoporosis, early CD screening among people with reproductive problems is necessary.

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