Eighty-three patients with autoimmune thyroid disorders were screened for coeliac disease. The screening was performed with IgA-class reticulin and endomysium antibody, IgA- and IgG-class gliadin antibody tests, and various biochemical tests for malabsorption. None of the tested subjects had selective IgA deficiency, which excludes the possibility of not detecting positives by an IgA-class test. Of the 83 patients, three asymptomatic coeliac patients were found, and one patient with coeliac disease previously diagnosed, an overall frequency of 4.8%. In addition, 25 patients with a solitary nodule of the thyroid gland were examined and one of them (4%) was found to have coeliac disease. By contrast, one (0.4%) out of 249 age- and sex-matched blood donors was found to have coeliac disease. All newly detected coeliac patients had IgA-class gliadin, reticulin and endomysium antibodies, but none of the patients had any gastrointestinal symptoms or abnormal biochemical findings suggesting coeliac disease. Treatment of thyroid disorders and coeliac disease was successful in these patients. The present results confirm that the frequency of subclinical coeliac disease is increased among patients with autoimmune thyroid disorders. IgA-class reticulin, endomysium or gliadin antibody tests are suitable screening methods for detecting these patients, as far as selective IgA-deficiency is excluded.
Autoimmune thyroid disorders and coeliac disease. Eur J Endocrinol. 1994 February