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chronic disorder of the small intestine caused by impaired absorption of fat and other nutrients. Two forms of the disease exist.

Tropical sprue occurs in central and northern South America, Asia, Africa, and other specific locations. No cause has been identified, but suggested causes include infection, parasitic infestation, vitamin deficiency, and food toxin. Tropical sprue responds to antibiotic and folic acid therapy.

Nontropical sprue, also called celiac disease, is primarily an autoimmune disease of young children and usually begins between the ages of 6 and 18 months, but it also can be triggered in susceptible adults. It is a hereditary congenital disorder caused by a sensitivity to the gliadin fraction of gluten, a cereal protein, but it appears to require an immunological trigger. The presence of gluten in the diet causes the immune system to attack the villi in the small intestineI,
9th letter of the alphabet. This vowel can be pronounced with a short vowel sound, as the ĭ in sit, or with a long vowel sound, like the ī in ride. The Greek correspondent is iota. J is a formal development from I.
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, interfering with the absorption of nutrients.

Nontropical sprue can be fatal, particularly if growth abnormalities are ignored or unrecognized. It is not known if scrupulous adherence to a gluten-free diet in this disease decreases the likelihood of intestinal lymphoma, but the deletion of gluten from the diet and the intake of vitamin, mineral, and hematinic supplements facilitate remission. Steroid treatments are often used if a gluten-free diet is ineffective; if steroid treatment is ineffective the prognosis is not good.

The symptoms of both types of sprue are generally the same: diarrhea with bulky, frothy, foul-smelling stools containing large amounts of fatty acids and soaps, and later weight loss, anemia, and other symptoms related to malabsorption of vitamins. X-ray examination of the small intestine revealing dilation, segmentation, and other typical changes is used in diagnosis.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a chronic disease of man that affects the bone marrow and the mucous membranes of the tongue, stomach, and intestines. Sprue’s etiology is unknown, but it is suspected that a deficiency of the B-complex vitamins plays a special role. The disease is manifested by persistent diarrhea, anemia, progressive emaciation, and damage to the peripheral nervous system. Sprue occurs primarily in countries with hot climates. In the USSR it occurs in Middle Asia and Transcaucasia. Treatment includes the observance of a protein and fat diet rich in the B-complex vitamins and the use of astringents; change of climate is also recommended.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A feed opening or vertical channel through which molten material, such as metal or plastic, is poured in an injection or transfer mold.
A slug of material that solidifies in the channel.
A syndrome characterized by impaired absorption of food, water, and minerals by the small intestine; symptoms are the result of nutritional deficiencies.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Some "collagenous sprue" cases described in early literature were actually celiac disease with a prominent basement membrane shown as an acellular pink band.
In one of the milestone researches on collagenous sprue, published in 2000, rigorous criteria were suggested for a diagnosis of collagenous sprue, such as a thicker than 12-mm layer of subepithelial collagen extending into the lamina propria with embedded small capillaries and lamina propria cells (eg, fibroblasts, lymphocytes) (Figure 2, D).
Whereas the histologic features of villous atrophy of the small intestine mimic those of classic celiac disease (more specifically, Marsh-Oberhuber destructive type 3), collagenous sprue is distinctive, with crypt atrophy as well as villous atrophy, (6) resulting in a mucosal thickness markedly less than the reference range (Figure 2, B).
Thin mucosa in collagenous sprue can be accompanied by hyperchromasia of the crypt epithelium (increased nuclear to cytoplasmic ratio) and may represent an inability to maintain healthy cell proliferation because of the severe malabsorption.
In contrast to classic celiac disease, spruelike enteropathies refractory to a gluten-free diet, including collagenous sprue, usually lack an intraepithelial lymphocytosis (Figure 2, C).
The expression patterns of genes involved in the fibrogenesis and fibrolysis and the composition of the subepithelial collagen band in collagenous sprue have been studied recently.
Furthermore, the increased eosinophils in collagenous sprue biopsies that display more severe fibrosis may suggest a role in the pathogenesis of collagenous sprue.
(12) To further examine the altered intestinal matrix metabolism in collagenous sprue, compared with celiac disease, direct measurement of collagen synthesis, for example, by stable isotope kinetics, may be needed.
Some researchers prefer to put collagenous sprue into the category of so-called refractory sprue, which on its own has a still-elusive relationship with classic celiac disease.
Collagenous sprue is a rare, potentially fatal, malabsorptive disorder of the small bowel, with a yet-to-be-determined etiology.
Synthesis of collagen I in collagenous sprue. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol.