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Can J Gastroenterol. 2000 Sep;14(8):672-5.

Prevalence of IgA antibodies to endomysium and tissue transglutaminase in primary biliary cirrhosis.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver.


The association between celiac disease and primary biliary cirrhosis has been described in several case reports and small screening studies, with varying prevalence rates. Stored sera from 378 patients with primary biliary cirrhosis were tested for immunoglobulin (Ig) A endomysium and tissue transglutaminase antibodies. Ten patients were positive for both antibodies (2.6%); five of these patients had had small bowel biopsies confirming celiac disease. A further 44 patients (11.6%) had raised titres of IgA tissue transglutaminase antibody but were negative for IgA endomysium antibody. The increased prevalence of celiac-related antibodies in patients with primary biliary cirrhosis suggests that the two conditions are associated, although the reason for the association remains unclear. Patients with primary biliary cirrhosis should be considered to be at high risk for celiac disease. Although liver biochemistry does not improve when these patients are fed a gluten-free diet, the complications of untreated celiac disease warrant the identification and treatment of the condition in this population.

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