Circulating Oxyntomodulin-like Immunoreactivity in Healthy Children and Children with Celiac Disease

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The aim of the study was to evaluate the new hormonal entity oxyntomodulin-like immunoreactivity in malabsorption states, and to assess its potential in celiac disease management.


We measured basal and postprandial oxyntomodulin-like immunoreactivity values in 35 children divided into 3 groups: group 1 was composed of 13 children with celiac disease, either under a gluten-free diet (8 patients) or normal diet (5 patients); group 2 was composed of 8 children hospitalized for gastroenteritis or chronic diarrhea, without biological evidence of malabsorption nor abnormal jejunal mucosa; group 3 was composed of 22 control subjects.


Fasting and meal-stimulated levels in the control group were 71 ± 10 and 130 ± 26 pmol/l, respectively. Mean concentrations were elevated in patients with celiac disease (basal = 349 ± 254 pmol/l, postprandial = 446 ± 332 pmol/l) and in the group 2 (basal = 139 ± 58 pmol/l, postprandial = 218 ± 85 pmol/l), but the difference with control subjects did not reach statistical significance. In children with celiac disease, basal and stimulated values correlated with the degree of malabsorption as assessed by hemoglobin (p = 0.006 and p = 0.01, respectively) and serum folate concentrations (p = 0.03 and p = 0.02, respectively).


Oxyntomodulin-like immunoreactivity is noticeably higher in healthy children than previously measured in healthy adult subjects. This hormonal parameter is not an adequate diagnostic tool in celiac disease. Nevertheless, in the context of celiac disease, its elevation reflects the degree of malabsorption and may provide a quantitative approach of the extent of mucosal damage.

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