1Department of Pediatrics, University of Chieti 'G. d'Annunzio', 66100 Chieti, Italy.
Celiac disease (CD) is an immune-mediated systemic disorder elicited by the ingestion of gluten whose clinical presentation ranges from the asymptomatic form to clinical patterns characterized by multiple systemic involvement. Although CD is a disease more frequently diagnosed in patients with symptoms of malabsorption such as diarrhea, steatorrhea, weight loss, or failure to thrive, the raised rate of overweight and obesity among general pediatric and adult populations has increased the possibility to diagnose celiac disease in obese patients as well. Consequently, it is not difficult to also find obesity-related disorders in patients with CD, including "metabolic associated fatty liver disease" (MAFLD). The exact mechanisms linking these two conditions are not yet known. The going assumption is that a gluten-free diet (GFD) plays a pivotal role in determining an altered metabolic profile because of the elevated content of sugars, proteins, saturated fats, and complex carbohydrates, and the higher glycemic index of gluten-free products than gluten-contained foods, predisposing individuals to the development of insulin resistance. However, recent evidence supports the hypothesis that alterations in one of the components of the so-called "gut-liver axis" might contribute to the increased afflux of toxic substances to the liver triggering the liver fat accumulation and to the subsequent hepatocellular damage. The aim of this paper was to describe the actual knowledge about the factors implicated in the pathogenesis of hepatic steatosis in pediatric patients with CD. The presented review allows us to conclude that the serological evaluations for CD with anti-transglutaminase antibodies, should be a part of the general workup in the asymptomatic patients with "non-alcoholic fatty liver disease" (NAFLD) when metabolic risk factors are not evident, and in the patients with steatohepatitis when other causes of liver disease are excluded.