Association between celiac disease and chronic hepatitis C
Gastroenterology and Hepatology from Bed to Bench,
Celiac disease is characterized by a gluten-induced damage of the small bowel in sensitive individuals that may cause malabsorption. Non-intestinal inflammatory diseases may trigger immunologic gluten intolerance in susceptible people and the HCV virus may be considered as a suitable candidate. Interferon therapy could precipitate symptom onset in subjects with silent celiac disease. In fact, symptoms such as diarrhea, anemia, and weight loss may occur during interferon therapy and are associated with serological positivity of anti-tranglutaminase antibodies. To date, considering the available literature data, it is very difficult to support a firm association between HCV chronic hepatitis and celiac disease. Thus, such a serological screening in HCV patients before starting interferon therapy should not be recommended. However, serology for celiac disease must be considered in patients who develop diarrhea and/or weight loss during such therapy.