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Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica 2013 March;59(1):89-95


language: English

Liver steatosis in celiac disease: the open door

Abenavoli L. 1, Luigiano C. 2, Larussa T. 1, Milic N. 3, De Lorenzo A. 4, Stelitano L. 5, Morace C. 5, Consolo P. 5, Miraglia S. 2, Fagoonee S. 6, Virgilio C. 2, Luzza F. 1, Pellicano R. 7

1 Department of Health Sciences, “Magna Græcia” University, Catanzaro, Italy; 2 Unit of Gastroenterology and Digestive Endoscopy, ARNAS Garibaldi, Catania, Italy; 3 Department of Pharmacy, University of Novi Sad, Serbia; 4 Division of Human Nutrition, University “Tor Vergata”, Rome, Italy; 5 Department of Medicine and Pharmacology University of Messina, Messina, Italy; 6 Molecular Biotechnology Center, University of Turin, Turin, Italy; 7 Department of Gastro-Hepatology, Molinette Hospital, Turin, Italy


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a common disease of unknown origin characterized by histological features similar to alcoholic-like liver injury but in the absence of significant alcohol intake. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease refers to a spectrum of diseases of the liver ranging from simple steatosis (i.e., fatty infiltration of the liver) to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (i.e., steatosis with inflammation and hepatocyte necrosis) to cirrhosis. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is frequently associated with disorders such as insulin resistance, obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidemia and protein-calorie malnutrition. However, in a subgroup of NAFLD patients, the true relevant cause remains undetermined. Celiac disease (CD) is a common immune-mediated disorder and develops in genetically susceptible subjects after the ingestion of gluten proteins. Celiac disease has been found in about 10% of patients with unexplained abnormal liver tests, and in about 3.5% of patients with NAFLD as the only manifestation of the disease. The frequency of subclinical or silent presentations in older children and adults highlights the importance of CD screening in patients with unexplained chronic abnormal liver function tests and NAFLD without any specific etiology. The pathogenesis of liver steatosis in CD is uncertain. The aims of this review are to describe the possible mechanisms involved in the occurrence and progression of liver steatosis in CD patients.

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