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Non-Celiac Wheat Sensitivity May Be an Allergy

Last Updated: November 08, 2013.

Non-celiac wheat sensitivity may be a non-immunoglobulin E-mediated food allergy, according to a review published online Nov. 5 in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

FRIDAY, Nov. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Non-celiac wheat sensitivity (NCWS) may be a non-immunoglobulin E-mediated food allergy, according to a review published online Nov. 5 in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

Antonio Carroccio, M.D., from the University of Palermo in Italy, and colleagues reviewed both the literature and data collected from 276 patients diagnosed with NCWS during a double-blind placebo-controlled wheat challenge. The role of serum immunoglobulin G antibodies and the basophil activation assay in food allergy, as well as histology findings in the food allergy diagnosis, were reviewed.

When comparing patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) not due to NCWS and patients suffering from NCWS and IBS, the researchers found that NCWS was significantly associated with a personal history of food allergy in the pediatric age (P = 0.01), coexistent atopic diseases (P = 0.0001), positive serum anti-gliadin (P = 0.0001) and anti-betalactoglobulin (P = 0.001) antibodies, positive cytofluorimetric assay revealing in-vitro basophil activation by food antigens (P = 0.0001), and a presence of eosinophils in the intestinal mucosa biopsies (P = 0.0001).

"NCWS can now be considered the cause of gastrointestinal symptoms, which overlap those commonly attributed to functional disorders," Carroccio said in a statement. "However, many doubts remain and it must be underlined that we must utilize the double-blind placebo-controlled challenge method to confirm the suspicion of NCWS and then study the pathogenesis of that specific clinical manifestation. A confident NCWS diagnosis must exclude a placebo effect."

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