JOURNAL ARTICLE

Proximal Limb Weakness in a Patient with Celiac Disease: Copper Deficiency, Gluten Sensitivity, or Both as the Underlying Cause?

J David Avila, David Lacomis
Case Reports in Neurological Medicine 2016, 2016: 5415949
27994896
Celiac disease has been associated with several neurologic disorders which may result from micronutrient deficiencies, coexisting autoimmune conditions, or gluten sensitivity. Copper deficiency can produce multiple neurologic manifestations. Myeloneuropathy is the most common neurologic syndrome and it is often irreversible, despite copper replacement. We report the case of a 55-year-old man who presented with progressive proximal limb weakness and weight loss in the setting of untreated celiac disease without gastrointestinal symptoms. He had anemia, neutropenia, and severe hypocupremia. The pattern of weakness raised the suspicion that there was an underlying myopathy, although this was not confirmed by electrodiagnostic studies. Weakness and hematologic abnormalities resolved completely within 1 month of total parenteral nutrition with copper supplementation and a gluten-free diet. Myopathy can rarely occur in patients with celiac disease, but the mechanism is unclear. Pure proximal limb weakness has not been previously reported in copper deficiency. We propose that this may represent a novel manifestation of hypocupremia and recommend considering copper deficiency and gluten sensitivity in patients presenting with proximal limb weakness.

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