Send to

Choose Destination
Aust N Z J Med. 1999 Apr;29(2):239-42.

Anti-transglutaminase antibodies and coeliac disease.

Author information

Department of Gastroenterology, St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne, Vic.



Anti-endomysial antibodies have high specificity for coeliac disease but measurements are limited by the requirement for monkey oesophagus, a substrate that is expensive, and of limited availability and ethical acceptance. Tissue transglutaminase has recently been identified as the endomysial autoantigen in coeliac disease.


To examine the validity of serum tissue transglutaminase antibody levels in patients with coeliac disease and to assess their sensitivity and specificity against standard serological tests.


Serum IgA anti-tissue transglutaminase antibody titres (measured by ELISA), IgA anti-gliadin antibody titres (measured by a commercial ELISA) and anti-endomysial antibody titres (measured by indirect immunofluorescence) were determined in 46 untreated and 14 treated patients biopsy-proven coeliac disease and 145 disease and healthy controls.


All patients with untreated coeliac disease were positive for anti-endomysial and anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies (sensitivity 100%). Seventy-one per cent of treated coeliac patients were anti-tissue transglutaminase antibody negative. Five of 145 disease and healthy controls had low titres of anti-tissue transglutaminase antibody (specificity 97%); no controls were anti-endomysial antibody positive.


Our results demonstrated the sensitivity and specificity of IgA anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies to correlate highly with anti-endomysial antibodies in the diagnosis of coeliac disease. The ELISA for IgA anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies is quantitative and easy to perform and is a valid alternative to indirect immunofluorescence for anti-endomysial antibodies in screening for suspected coeliac disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center