Celiac disease (CD) may be considered as a systemic immune-mediated disorder that is triggered by dietary gluten in genetically susceptible subjects. CD children and adolescents show typical intestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, loss of weight and abdominal distension, or extraintestinal signs, the so-called nonclassical CD, such as short stature and delayed puberty. An endocrinological investigation including an evaluation of growth hormone (GH) secretion should be performed in CD subjects who show no catch-up growth after at least 1 year on a strict gluten-free diet (GFD) in the presence of a seronegativity of anti-transglutaminase and/or antiendomysial antibodies. When the diagnosis of GH deficiency is formulated, a substitutive therapy with GH must be promptly started to obtain a complete catch-up growth. The long-term effects of GH therapy in CD children who follow a strict GFD are comparable to those found in children with idiopathic GHD. A widely documented association has been observed between CD and type I diabetes mellitus and/or Hashimoto thyroiditis and/or Addison’s disease. During follow-up, pediatricians should check antibody serology, thyroid and adrenal function and glucose-metabolic profile in order to verify the compliance with both diet and GH treatment. Adherence to a strict gluten-free diet promotes regular linear growth and may prevent CD complications as well as the onset of other autoimmune diseases.
Part of the book: Pituitary Diseases