Indian Journal of Gastroenterology

, Volume 32, Issue 5, pp 283–288 | Cite as

Pediatric and adult celiac disease: similarities and differences

  • Ujjal Poddar


Differences between children and adults in celiac disease (CD) presentation and epidemiology are reviewed here. Clinical manifestations, histological changes, serology, and response to gluten-free diet are similar. Differences exist in epidemiology, type of clinical presentations, coexisting diseases, complications, and association with obesity. CD is two to five times more common in children than in adults. Classical CD with gastrointestinal symptoms is more common in children whereas nonclassical CD dominates in adults. A gene dose phenomenon (double-dose HLA-DQB1*02 allele) is postulated to be responsible for this difference. Coexisting autoimmune diseases like diabetes mellitus type 1, Sjogren’s syndrome, and dermatitis herpetiformis are more common in adults than in children (42 % vs. 5 %). The association of overweight/obesity and CD is stronger in adults than in children (22.5 % vs. 14 %). Besides poor compliance, pancreatic insufficiency, bacterial overgrowth, lactose intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome, lymphocytic colitis, and microscopic colitis are considered responsible for nonresponsive CD in adults but not in children. Complications like refractory sprue and small intestinal neoplasms are seen exclusively in adults. Existing diagnostic criteria (modified ESPGHAN) are not suitable for diagnosing CD in adults as the majority of cases are either nonclassical or subclinical CD.


Atypical Complications Diagnostic criteria Gene dose Obesity 


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Copyright information

© Indian Society of Gastroenterology 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pediatric GastroenterologySanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical SciencesLucknowIndia

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