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Biological markers for non celiac gluten sensitivity: a question awaiting for a convincing answer

Enzo Ierardi, Giuseppe Losurdo, Domenico Piscitelli, Floriana Giorgio, Annacinzia Amoruso, Andrea Iannone, Mariabeatrice Principi, Alfredo Di Leo




Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS) is characterized by immunological, morphological or symptomatic manifestations precipitated by gluten ingestion in individuals without celiac disease (CD). The most important challenge in NCGS is the diagnosis, currently based only on clinical observation. The “Salerno criteria” have been pointed out to achieve a reliable diagnosis even if they lack immediacy and practicality, thus making questionable patient’s adherence. Therefore, biological indicators supporting the clinical diagnosis of NCGS are advisable. For these reasons, many attempts have been performed in order to identify possible serological, immunological, histopathological, immunohistochemical and pathophysiological aspects characterizing this condition with the aim of using them for diagnostic purposes. In the present narrative review, we carried out an update of the current scenario of potential markers of NCGS. The main fault of available studies is that, in most cases investigations have been pointed out towards molecules, which cannot be searched in the current laboratories of clinical analysis. Therefore, the matter has been confined within basic research. Additionally, in these studies, sensitivity and specificity of biological markers were not computable. This is a relevant limit, since an ideal test for NCGS should have a good discriminative power against both CD and other causes of microscopic enteritis. Until now, serological tests have failed, while the search for a soluble marker indicative of activation of innate immune system as well as immunohistochemistry could be the promising bases for the development of appropriate investigations in the future.

Keywords: Gluten sensitivity, Marker, Diagnosis, Cytokines, Immunohistochemistry.

(Please cite as: Ierardi E, Losurdo G, Piscitelli D, Giorgio F, Amoruso A, Iannone A, et al. Biological markers for non-celiac gluten sensitivity: a question awaiting for a convincing answer. Gastroenterol Hepatol Bed Bench 2018;11(3):203-208).


gluten sensitivity; marker; diagnosis; cytokines; immunohistochemistry


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22037/ghfbb.v0i0.1326