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Minerva Medica 2008 December;99(6):595-604

language: English

Liver involvement in celiac disease

Rubio-Tapia A., Murray J. A.

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology Department of Medicine Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, MN, USA


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Celiac disease is a chronic immune-mediated disorder that may affect several organs. Liver abnormalities are common extraintestinal manifestations of celiac disease. Isolated hypertransaminasemia, with mild or nonspecific histologic changes in the liver biopsy, also known as “celiac hepatitis”, is the most frequent presentation of liver injury in celiac disease. Both, histologic changes and liver enzymes reverse to normal after treatment with a gluten-free diet in most patients. Celiac disease may also be associated with severe forms of liver disease and/or coexist with other chronic liver disorders (i.e., autoimmune liver diseases). The mechanisms underlying liver injury in celiac disease are poorly understood. Predisposition to autoimmunity by shared genetic factors (i.e., human leukocyte antigen [HLA] genes) as well as the systemic effects of abnormal intestinal permeability, cytokines, autoantibodies, and/or other yet undefined biologic mediators induced by gluten exposure in susceptible persons may play a pathogenic role. The aims of this article are: 1) to review the spectrum of liver injury related to celiac disease and 2) to understand the clinical implications of celiac disease in patients with chronic liver disorders.

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