Gastric emptying of solids is delayed in celiac disease and normalizes after gluten withdrawal

F. Perri, M. Pastore, A. Zicolella, V. Annese, M. Quitadamo, A. Andriulli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Several gastrointestinal motor abnormalities have been detected in patients with celiac disease, but it is unclear whether they are able to influence the gastric emptying rate. The aim of this work was to evaluate the gastric emptying rate of solids in children with celiac disease before and after a gluten-free diet. Nine children with celiac disease and nine healthy controls (age range 4-16 y) underwent a13C-octanoic acid breath test to measure gastric emptying. Half emptying time (t(1/2)) and lag phase (t(lag)) were calculated. After 6 mo of a gluten-free diet, all celiac children underwent a repeat 13C-octanoic acid breath test. The gastric motility parameters, t(1/2) and t(lag), were significantly longer in patients than in controls. No significant correlation between abnormal gastric emptying and specific symptom patterns or severity of histological damage was found. On a gluten-free diet, the gastric emptying rate normalized in all celiac patients. This finding supports the hypothesis that gluten-driven mucosal inflammation might determine motor abnormalities by affecting smooth muscle contractility or impairing the release of neurotransmitters. Alternatively, nutrient malabsorption might determine significant changes in intraluminal milieu, which, in turn, may affect intestinal motor functions. Conclusion: patients affected by celiac disease have a markedly delayed gastric emptying of solids, which returns to normal after gluten withdrawal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)921-925
Number of pages5
JournalActa Paediatrica, International Journal of Paediatrics
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • 13C-octanoic acid
  • Breath test
  • Celiac disease
  • Gastric emptying
  • Gluten

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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