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Monitoring of Anti-transglutaminase Autoantibodies in Pediatric Celiac Disease Using a Sensitive Radiobinding Assay

Candon, Sophie*; Mauvais, François-Xavier*; Garnier-Lengliné, Hélène; Chatenoud, Lucienne*; Schmitz, Jacques

Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition: March 2012 - Volume 54 - Issue 3 - p 392–396
doi: 10.1097/MPG.0b013e318232c459
Original Articles: Gastroenterology

Objectives: The diagnosis of celiac disease (CD) is based on the histological identification of gluten-sensitive enteropathy and detection of anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies (tTGA) and/or endomysial antibodies. Serial measurements of tTGA are now recommended as a follow-up strategy to monitor compliance with a gluten-free diet (GFD). We evaluated the performances of a quantitative radiobinding assay (RBA) of tTGA immunoglobulin A at diagnosis and during monitoring of GFD in pediatric CD.

Methods: Eighty children with confirmed CD were selected. Levels of serum tTGA measured by RBA and a commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) were compared at diagnosis. The relation between RBA-tTGA levels and histological damage was analyzed, as well as the time course of tTGA clearance during GFD.

Results: Both RBA and ELISA showed high sensitivity and specificity for tTGA detection at diagnosis. There was no relation between RBA-tTGA levels at diagnosis and severity of mucosal damage. Upon initiation of GFD, the rate of RBA-tTGA positivity declined slower than that of endomysial antibodies positivity, with >50% of the children still tTGA positive at year 5; however, tTGA levels decreased rapidly during the first year of GFD and more slowly thereafter. Children who seroreverted had lower tTGA levels at diagnosis (2080±1554 cpm) than those who remained tTGA positive throughout follow-up (3688±1435 cpm).

Conclusions: The high sensitivity of RBA is likely responsible for higher tTGA positivity rates during GFD than previously reported with ELISA. A decreasing trend for tTGA levels may represent a better surrogate marker of compliance with GFD than absolute normal tTGA levels.

*Immunologie Biologique

Gastro-entérologie Pédiatrique, Hôpital Necker Enfants Malades, Université Paris Descartes, Sorbonne Paris Cité, Faculté de Médecine, Paris, France.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Sophie Candon, Immunologie Biologique, Hôpital Necker Enfants Malades, 149 rue de Sèvres, 75015 Paris, France (e-mail:

Received 21 December, 2010

Accepted 14 August, 2011

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Copyright 2012 by ESPGHAN and NASPGHAN