Splenic function has been serially measured by counting pitted red cells in 15 coeliac patients, before and during a gluten-free diet. The basal percentage values of pitted cells decreased significantly during treatment but no correlation was observed between the duration of the gluten-free diet and the percentage of recovery of splenic function over basal values. Out of six coeliacs with pitted cell values consistent with splenic hypofunction, three showed a total recovery after gluten withdrawal. Our data suggest that, contrary to recent reports, hyposplenism in adult coeliac disease is improved by a gluten-free diet, and that environmental factors may be important in determining and maintaining this complication.
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