Celiac Abstracts 9

© 2012

Increased red cell distribution width and coeliac disease

            (Brusco, Di Stefano et al. 2000) Download

BACKGROUND/AIMS: Despite availability of sensitive screening tests, coeliac disease is still underdiagnosed. To determine which haematochemical abnormalities might be more predictive of this condition, we reviewed the clinical records of our series of adult patients affected by coeliac disease. METHODS: Six haematochemical parameters (haemoglobin, red cell distribution width, serum levels of iron, albumin, calcium and potassium) were evaluated in 126 consecutive adult untreated coeliac patients diagnosed since 1990. RESULTS: Elevated red cell distribution width was the most frequent haematochemical abnormality, being present in 57.9% of our patients (Chi square analysis, p<0.01 versus other laboratory changes). CONCLUSION: The increase of red cell distribution width was more common than iron-deficiency anaemia, a well-known indicator of coeliac disease. Elevated red cell distribution width can thus be considered a new predictor of coeliac disease and in the presence of this a search should be made for antiendomysial antibodies.

Red cell distribution width and mortality in older adults: a meta-analysis

            (Patel, Semba et al. 2010) Download

BACKGROUND: Red cell distribution width (RDW) is a quantitative measure of variability in the size of circulating erythrocytes with higher values reflecting greater heterogeneity in cell sizes. Recent studies have shown that higher RDW is associated with increased mortality risk in patients with clinically significant cardiovascular disease (CVD). Whether RDW is prognostic in more representative community-based populations is unclear. METHODS: Seven relevant community-based studies of older adults with RDW measurement and mortality ascertainment were identified. Cox proportional hazards regression and meta-analysis on individual participant data were performed. RESULTS: Median RDW values varied across studies from 13.2% to 14.6%. During 68,822 person-years of follow-up of 11,827 older adults with RDW measured, there was a graded increased risk of death associated with higher RDW values (p < .001). For every 1% increment in RDW, total mortality risk increased by 14% (adjusted hazard ratio [HR]: 1.14; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.11-1.17). In addition, RDW was strongly associated with deaths from CVD (adjusted HR: 1.15; 95% CI: 1.12-1.25), cancer (adjusted HR: 1.13; 95% CI: 1.07-1.20), and other causes (adjusted HR: 1.13; 95% CI: 1.07-1.18). Furthermore, the RDW-mortality association occurred in all major demographic, disease, and nutritional risk factor subgroups examined. Among the subset of 1,603 older adults without major age-associated diseases, RDW remained strongly associated with total mortality (adjusted HR: 1.32; 95% CI: 1.21-1.44). CONCLUSIONS: RDW is a routinely reported test that is a powerful predictor of mortality in community-dwelling older adults with and without age-associated diseases. The biologic mechanisms underlying this association merit investigation.

Red cell distribution width as a marker of coeliac disease: a prospective study

            (Sategna Guidetti, Scaglione et al. 2002) Download

BACKGROUND: Coeliac disease is frequently underdiagnosed because of its protean presentations. Serological tests may be helpful in screening programmes for populations at risk, but they are costly. AIM: To determine prospectively whether a commonly available haematological test such as the red cell distribution width (RDW) could be of help in detecting unrecognized coeliac disease. METHODS: Of 353 consecutive adult patients referred to our outpatient malabsorption clinic, 198 in whom clinical suspicion was strong were referred for further investigations and intestinal biopsy. Seventy-six inflammatory bowel disease outpatients and 90 subjects admitted for diseases other than malabsorption were enrolled as the control group. RESULTS: RDW was increased in 94 (47.4%) and normal in 104 (52.5%) of 198 patients. Duodenal biopsy confirmed coeliac disease in 80 (85.1%) of the former patients and 69 (66.3%) of the latter patients. No correlation between RDW values and histological scores was found. Overall RDW increase was found in 80/149 (53.7%) patients with a definite diagnosis of coeliac disease, and in 14/49 (28.6%) patients in whom biopsy excluded the disease. A 1-year gluten withdrawal led to a significant decrease in RDW value, even in patients with obdurate mucosal impairment. CONCLUSIONS: In patients in whom there is a strong clinical suspicion of coeliac disease, an elevated RDW despite normal haemoglobin concentration may be a reliable predictor of the disease.

Tight junctions, intestinal permeability, and autoimmunity: celiac disease and type 1 diabetes paradigms

            (Visser, Rozing et al. 2009) Download

Autoimmune diseases are characterized by tissue damage and loss of function due to an immune response that is directed against specific organs. This review is focused on celiac disease (CD), an autoimmune enteropathy, and type 1 diabetes (T1D), a hyperglycosaemia caused by a destructive autoimmune process targeting the insulin-producing pancreatic islet cells. Even if environmental factors and genetic susceptibility are clearly involved in the pathogenesis of autoimmunity, for most autoimmune disorders there is no or little knowledge about the causing agent or genetic makeup underlying the disease. In this respect, CD represents a unique autoimmune disorder because a close genetic association with HLA-DQ2 or HLA-DQ8 haplotypes and, more importantly, the environmental trigger (the gliadin fraction of gluten-containing grains wheat, barley, and rye) are known. Conversely, the trigger for autoimmune destruction of pancreatic ss cells in T1D is unclear. Interestingly, recent data suggest that gliadin is also involved in the pathogenesis of T1D. There is growing evidence that increased intestinal permeability plays a pathogenic role in various autoimmune diseases including CD and T1D. Therefore, we hypothesize that besides genetic and environmental factors, loss of intestinal barrier function is necessary to develop autoimmunity. In this review, each of these components will be briefly reviewed.


Brusco, G., M. Di Stefano, et al. (2000). "Increased red cell distribution width and coeliac disease." Dig Liver Dis 32(2): 128-30.

Patel, K. V., R. D. Semba, et al. (2010). "Red cell distribution width and mortality in older adults: a meta-analysis." J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 65(3): 258-65.

Sategna Guidetti, C., N. Scaglione, et al. (2002). "Red cell distribution width as a marker of coeliac disease: a prospective study." Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol 14(2): 177-81.

Visser, J., J. Rozing, et al. (2009). "Tight junctions, intestinal permeability, and autoimmunity: celiac disease and type 1 diabetes paradigms." Ann N Y Acad Sci 1165: 195-205.