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Adv Clin Chem. 2015;68:1-55. doi: 10.1016/bs.acc.2014.12.006. Epub 2015 Jan 21.

Overview of biomarkers for diagnosis and monitoring of celiac disease.

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Department of Clinical Pathology, "Buccheri La Ferla" Hospital, Palermo, Italy. Electronic address:


Among the adverse reactions caused by wheat, celiac disease (CD) is the longest studied and best-known pathology. The more recently defined non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) presents with symptoms which are often indistinguishable from CD. Diagnosis of CD is based on serologic, molecular, and bioptic testing. The IgA anti-transglutaminase (tTG) test is considered highly important, as it shows high sensitivity and specificity and its levels correlate to the degree of intestinal damage. Small bowel biopsy can be avoided in symptomatic patients with IgA anti-tTG levels above 10× the manufacturer's cut-off. Recently, tests of anti-deamidated peptides of gliadin (DGP) have replaced classic anti-native gliadin (AGA) tests. DGP assays have a considerably higher diagnostic accuracy than AGA assays, especially in the IgG class, and can replace anti-tTG tests in patients with selective IgA deficiency. The combination of IgG anti-DGP plus IgA anti-tTG assays show greater sensitivity than a single test, with very high specificity. EMA tests have great diagnostic accuracy but are not recommended by all the latest guidelines because they are observer dependent. Biopsy must still be considered the gold standard for CD diagnosis. HLA-DQ genotyping can be used to screen asymptomatic children and in cases of histology/serology disagreement. About half of NCGS patients are DQ2 positive and have IgG AGA. To diagnose NCGS, first CD and wheat allergy must be excluded; then the wheat dependence of symptoms must be verified by a gluten-free diet and subsequent gluten challenge.


Actin; Anti-endomysium; Antibodies; Celiac disease; Deamidated gliadin; Diagnostic accuracy; Gluten sensitivity; Gluten-related disorders; Point of care tests; Tissue transglutaminase

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