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J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 1999 Nov;29(5):571-4.

Antibodies to gliadin, endomysium, and tissue transglutaminase for the diagnosis of celiac disease.

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Department of Pediatrics, Hospital de Cruces and Basque University School of Medicine, Bilbao, Spain.



Tissue transglutaminase has recently been identified as the main autoantigen recognized by antiendomysial antibodies in celiac disease. Serum immunoglobulin (Ig)A antibodies to tissue transglutaminase (tTG-ab) determined by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) technique have been reported to correlate closely with IgA antiendomysial antibodies (EMA). The purpose of this study was to assess the sensitivity, specificity, and predictive value of tTG-ab measured by a commercially available ELISA technique, compared with those of EMA and IgA antigliadin antibodies (AGA) for the diagnosis of celiac disease.


Twenty-seven serum samples were obtained from patients with untreated celiac disease, 37 from patients who had had gluten withdrawn from their diets for varying time spans, and 34 from control subjects without celiac disease. All were younger than 14 years. Presence of tTG-ab and AGA was determined by ELISA and of EMA by indirect immunofluorescence.


Twenty-six of 27 serum samples obtained from patients at the time of diagnosis of celiac disease were AGA positive. All 27 (concordance rate 100%) were positive for EMA and tTG-ab. Of the 34 control subjects, 1 was for AGA and 2 for tTG-ab. All 34 were negative for EMA. Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value within this group were, for tTG-ab: 100%, 94%, 93%, and 100%, respectively; for EMA: all four indexes were 100%; and for AGA: 96%, 97%, 96%, and 97%, respectively. Of the 37 with treated celiac disease, 2 were AGA positive, 9 were EMA positive, and 6 were tTG-ab positive. The concordance rate between EMA and tTG-ab was 100% in the group with untreated celiac disease, 94% in the control subjects, and 76% in the group with treated celiac disease.


Immunoglobulin A antibodies to tissue transglutaminase are new, highly sensitive, and specific markers of celiac disease. They can be determined easily by an accurate, comparatively cheap technique and thereby may advantageously replace the EMA marker traditionally used.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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