Posted by: Indonesian Children | June 15, 2009

Idiopathic cerebellar ataxia associated with celiac disease: lack of distinctive neurological features

Maria Teresa Pellecchia,a Rossana Scala,a Alessandro Filla,a Giuseppe De Michele,a Carolina Ciacci,b Paolo Baronea

a Dipartimento di Scienze Neurologiche , b Dipartimento di Patologia, Sistematica-Università di Napoli “Federico II”, Italy

Correspondence to: Dr Paolo Barone, Clinica Neurologica, Ed 17, Department of Neurological Sciences, Via S Pansini 5, 80131 Napoli, Italy. Telephone-fax 0039 81 7462670; email: barone{at}

Received 10 April 1998 and in revised form 7 July 1998; Accepted 10 August 1998


OBJECTIVES To determine the occurrence of celiac disease in a population of ataxic patients without definite diagnosis and to characterise distinctive features which may help to differentiate cerebellar ataxia with and without celiac disease.
METHODS Twenty four ataxic patients without definite diagnosis (group A) and 23 ataxic patients with definite diagnosis (group B) were screened for antigliadin (AGAs) and antiendomysium antibodies (EMAs). Patients with a positive AGA or EMA test underwent endoscopic biopsy of the duodenal mucosa.
RESULTS There was an increased prevalence of celiac disease in group A (3/24) compared with group B (0/23). None of the celiac patients presented gastrointestinal symptoms or malabsorption signs. None of the ataxic patients with celiac disease had early onset ataxia.
CONCLUSIONS Celiac disease is associated with ataxic syndromes without definite diagnosis, suggesting that it plays a part in the pathogenesis of some ataxic syndromes. The absence of distinctive neurological features in ataxic patients with celiac disease suggests that a search should be made for celiac disease markers in all ataxic patients without definite diagnosis.
(J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 1999;66:32-35)

Keywords: ataxia;  celiac disease;  antigliadin antibodies;  antiendomesium antibodies


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