Coeliac disease and inflammatory skin diseases

Coeliac Disease

Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune diseases are diseases in which the immune system falsely recognises the body’s own tissue as harmful, attacks it and destroys it. In coeliac disease this reaction is caused by gluten. Gluten is found in noodles, pastries, flour and beer, among others. Ingesting foods containing gluten causes the autoantigen known as transglutaminase to be produced by the immune system. This autoantigen in turn attacks the small intestinal mucous membrane and destroys it[1]. If gluten is still consumed despite coeliac disease, the damage to the intestinal mucous membrane worsens until the intestinal villi recede (villous atrophy) [2]. When this happens, fewer nutrients are absorbed from the food. This can cause deficiencies or even malnutrition.

Coeliac disease cannot be cured. The only treatment is a complete exclusion of foods containing gluten that must be strictly adhered to. Any type of nutritional deficiency can cause symptoms such as diarrhoea, loss of appetite, vomiting, muscle weakness, depression, liver disease, and tumours [3].

Dermatitis herpetiformis Duhring

Dermatitis herpetiformis Duhring is an inflammatory skin disease. It is characterised by itching herpes-like blisters on the skin. They usually occur on the elbows, knees and buttocks. In addition, dermatitis herpetiformis Duhring may also occur on the back, abdomen, groin, armpits, scalp, and face. Damage to the mouth is rare. The blisters which form are often open or crusted because of the intense itching. As a rule, the disease is episodic, but a complete cure cannot be achieved [4].

Coeliac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis Duhring

Since 1966 it has been known that patients with coeliac disease also often suffer from dermatitis herpetiformis Duhring. In dermatitis herpetiformis Duhring an autoantigen similar to that in coeliac disease is released. This autoantigen also reacts sensitively to gluten. Consequently, gluten triggers the formation of the autoantigen and thus the skin complaints of dermatitis herpetiformis Duhring. The therapy is therefore the complete avoidance of food containing gluten. Gluten-free means that a maximum of 20 mg/kg gluten may be present in the product. In dermatitis herpetiformis Duhring as well, a complete exclusion of gluten is not a cure, but the symptoms can be reduced. However, nutritional deficiencies can lead to relapses of the disease [4].

The Coeliac Disease Test

With the cerascreen® Coeliac Test, you can test for the presence of coeliac disease with just a few drops of blood. This determines the concentration of the tissue transglutaminase. In addition to the exact value, you will receive valuable health tips and nutritional recommendations on “Coeliac Disease"". Test yourself for coeliac disease, even if you only have symptoms of dermatitis herpetiformis Duhring, since coeliac disease can be symptom-free at first yet still trigger all of the complaints associated with it over time.


1 McCarville et al. (2015) Pharmacological approaches in celiac disease. Current Opinion in Pharmacology. 25: 7-12.
2 Stamnaes & Sollid (2015). Celiac disease: Autoimmunity in response to food antigen. Seminars in Immunology. 1044-5323.
3 Schäfer, C. (2013). Zöliakie - Krankheit mit vielen Gesichtern [Coeliac Disease - The disease with many faces], in: UGB-Forum spezial. Schuppan, D. and Zimmer, K-P. (2013): Diagnostik und Therapie der Zöliakie [Coeliac Disease Diagnosis and Therapy], in: Deutsches Ärzteblatt, Jg. 110 (2013) 49.
4 Reunala et al. (2015). Dermatitis Herpetiformis: Pathognomic Transglutaminase IgA Deposits in the Skin and Excellent Prognosis on a Gluten-free Diet. Acta Derm Venereol. 95: 917-922."