Coeliac disease in China, a field waiting for exploration.
Rev Esp Enferm Dig. 2010 Jul;102(8):472-7. PMID: 20670067
Gastroenterology Department, Jiangsu Provincial Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China.
BACKGROUND: no systematic studies on the prevalence of coeliac disease (CD) have been reported from China. In western populations CD is more common in patients with insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) and in diarrhoea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (D-IBS). We have screened patients with these conditions presenting to the outpatient department of a large hospital of "Traditional Chinese Medicine" (TCM) in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, P.R. China. METHODS: we tested sera of 78 unrelated Han Chinese patients (5 IDDM and 73 D-IBS), using ELISA serological tests for IgG anti-gliadin antibodies (IgG-AGA) and IgA anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies (IgA-tTG). RESULTS: six out of 78 patients (7.7%) were positive for IgG-AGA (two men and four women) and two (2.6%) were positive for IgA-tTGs. One of the latter patients was negative for IgG-AGA. Besides, one patient had a dubious IgA-tTG antibody and a positive IgG-AGA. None of the six patients agreed to undergo duodenal biopsy. Two out of these six patients followed a gluten-free diet for one year. In one patient the diarrhoea ceased and his body weight increased. Another stopped losing weight. CONCLUSIONS: this study previously published as a letter in GUT (Wu J, Xia B, von Blomberg BME, Zhao C, Yang XW, Crusius JBA, Peña AS. Coeliac disease: emerging in China? Gut 2010; 59(3): 418-9) demonstrated that CD may exist in the Jiangsu province of P.R. China. The present article draws attention to the difficulties of following a standard protocol in China such as established in western countries and highlights important factors less well known in the west in relation to the development of CD in China. Wheat production became significant in China between 1600 and 1300 B.C. After the Han dynasty (500-200 B.C.), wheat was one of the main cereals in China. One the major wheat fields in China is located in the Jiangsuprovince where the research for this article was performed. A review of Chinese literature shows that the predominant HLA-DQ CD risk alleles and haplotypes are present in the Jiangsu province. Genetic background, food consumption, and the results of our study suggest that CD should actively be investigated in P.R. China.