Serological screening for Celiac Disease in 382 pre-schoolers with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Sara Calderoni, Elisa Santocchi, Teresa Del Bianco, Elena Brunori, Laura Caponi, Aldo Paolicchi, Francesca Fulceri, Margherita Prosperi, Antonio Narzisi, Angela Cosenza, Raffaella Tancredi, Filippo Muratori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Recent investigations suggest a possible common genetic background between Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and Celiac Disease (CD). However, studies regarding this association are scarce and often limited by the small sample sizes and/or large heterogeneity among ASD groups in terms of demographic and clinical features. The present study aims to investigate the overall CD prevalence (biopsy proven-CD patients plus screening detected tTG and EMA positive cases) in a large population of pre-schoolers with ASD referred to a tertiary care University Hospital. Methods: We retrospectively collected data about 382 children (mean age: 46.97 ± 13.55 months; age-range: 18-72 months) consecutively diagnosed as ASD (according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 4th edition criteria) over the period 2010-2013, and who performed a serological CD screening. Results: The overall CD prevalence was 2.62%, which is statistically significant higher to that reported in the Italian paediatric population (p = 0.0246). Half of these children had no symptoms or risk factors related to CD when they performed the serological screening. Conclusions: If replicated, these data suggest the importance of regular screening for CD in young patients with ASD, and are of relevance for clinical and public health.

Original languageEnglish
Article number98
JournalItalian Journal of Pediatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Nov 16 2016


  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Celiac Disease
  • Epidemiology
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms
  • Pre-schoolers
  • Screening
  • Young children

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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