Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 20, Issue 11, Pages 719-722
Original Article

Gluten Intolerance: Sex- and Age-Related Features

MJ Llorente-Alonso,1 MJ Fernández-Aceñero,2 and M Sebastián3

1Departments of Biochemistry, Hospital General of Móstoles, Madrid, Spain
2Surgical Pathology, Hospital General of Móstoles, Madrid, Spain
3Pediatrics, Hospital General of Móstoles, Madrid, Spain

Received 27 February 2006; Accepted 27 March 2006

Copyright © 2006 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


OBJECTIVE: Gluten intolerance is an immune-mediated enteropathy associated with gluten-containing foods in genetically susceptible patients. The typical form mainly affecting children shows failure to thrive and/or gastrointestinal symptoms. The adult form is less typical, presenting vague gastrointestinal symptoms, iron deficiency (with or without anemia) or nonspecific serum chemistry abnormalities. The present study aims to analyze clinical and biochemical differences of celiac disease (CD) according to sex and age.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: The present study reviewed clinical and biochemical features of patients with suspected CD admitted to the Hospital General of Móstoles (Madrid, Spain) between July 2001 and June 2005. Two hundred fifty-two patients were analyzed, in whom intestinal biopsy was performed due to clinical and/or biochemical abnormalities suggestive of CD. One hundred seventy-eight asymptomatic relatives of the affected patients were also included. Overall, 125 patients showed diagnostic features of CD in the intestinal biopsy.

RESULTS: The results confirmed higher prevalence of typical forms of CD in children (67% in children compared with only 14.3% in adults). CD seemed to be more frequent in adult women than in men (ratio of women to men 4:1), but it is worth noting that men diagnosed were most often referred with a typical clinical picture, so atypical forms of the disease in men may have been underdiagnosed.

CONCLUSIONS: CD shows atypical features in adults, and physicians must include this disorder in the differential diagnosis of adults with iron deficiency or slight hypertransaminasemia. Increased awareness of the disease and extensive availability of accurate serological tests will lead to improved diagnosis of this disorder, both in children and adults.