Liver abnormalities associated with celiac sprue. How common are they, what is their significance, and what do we do about them?

W Dickey, R G Watson, J C McLoughlin, A H Love, S.A. McMillan, J S Collins

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53 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We prospectively measured serum alkaline phosphatase (ALP), aspartate and alanine transaminase (AST/ALT), and tested sera for antinuclear, smooth-muscle, and antimitochondrial antibodies (ANA, SMA, AMA) in our patients with celiac sprue to determine the prevalence of associated liver abnormalities and its relevance to clinical management. Of 129 patients, ALP was the only elevated enzyme in 12 (9%) and in most cases was not thought to reflect significant liver disease. Seventeen (13%) had elevated AST and/or ALT with normal ALP. Levels normalized in 15 patients after dietary gluten exclusion and remained elevated in 2 noncompliers. Two patients (2%) with elevated AST, ALT, and ALP underwent further investigation: one had negative autoantibodies, liver biopsy, and endoscopic retrograde cholangiography and the other had ANA-positive chronic active hepatitis; enzymes in both cases improved with a gluten-free diet. There was no significant association between elevated AST/ALT and positive ANA/SMA; no patient had AMA. Abnormalities in liver enzymes are common in celiac sprue, but usually respond to dietary gluten exclusion. We propose that there is no need for invasive liver investigation in these patients unless there is more specific evidence of primary liver disease or failure of dietary response.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)290-2
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Clinical Gastroenterology
Volume20
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1995

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