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Clin Immunol. 2006 Oct;121(1):40-6. Epub 2006 Jun 23.

Evidence of a selective epitope loss of anti-transglutaminase immunoreactivity in gluten-free diet celiac sera: a new tool to distinguish disease-specific immunoreactivities.

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  • 1Dept. of Clinical Sciences, University of Rome La Sapienza, Policlinico Umberto I, Viale del Policlinico 155, 00161 Rome, Italy.


The aim of the present study was to evaluate the epitope specific humoral human tissue transglutaminase (tTG) immunoreactivity against 3 different human recombinant tTG constructs [(full-length tTG (a.a. 1-687), tTG (a.a. 227-687); tTG (a.a. 473-687)] before and after the introduction of a gluten-free diet (GFD). To this end, sera from 64 celiac disease (CD) subjects on a gluten-containing diet (44 f, 20 m) and after 0.6 +/- 0.3 years and 2.1 +/- 1.3 years of GFD were studied using a quantitative radioimmunoprecipitation assay. All 64 CD patients at diagnosis were full-length anti-tTG (a.a. 1-687)Ab positive. These Abs significantly decreased in frequency and titer after 6 months and 2 years of GFD. However, at low titers, 64.1% (41/64) of CD patients were still fl-tTG (a.a. 1-687)Ab positive after 2 years of GFD. At disease diagnosis, 70.3% (45/64) of the CD patients had Abs directed against fragments (227-687) and/or (473-687) of the tTG protein. This percentage, after 2 years of GFD, significantly decreased to 18.7%, whereas almost 50% of GFD patients had no tTG (227-687) and tTG (473-687) fragment reactivity, but only persistent, low-titer full-length tTG (1-687)Abs. We suggest that the selective loss of immunoreactivity against tTG (227-687) and tTG (473-687) fragments in CD patients with a GFD, could be due to quantitative decrease of autoreactivity driven by tTG-gliadin interaction underlying celiac disease pathogenesis.

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