Detection of Autoantibodies Against Tissue Transglutaminase in Patients With Celiac Disease and Dermatitis Herpetiformis

Koop, Irmtraut; Ilchmann, Ralf; Izzi, Leo; Adragna, Amelia; Koop, Herbert; Barthelmes, Hans
August 2000
American Journal of Gastroenterology;Aug2000, Vol. 95 Issue 8, p2009
Academic Journal
OBJECTIVE: Endomysial autoantibodies (EmA) are specific for celiac disease. The target antigen has been identified as tissue tranglutaminase (tTG). Our aim was to study the accuracy of a newly developed enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for easy detection of tTG autoantibodies. METHODS: Thirty-one sera from patients with histologically proven celiac disease and 23 healthy controls were examined for EmA using monkey esophagus and human umbilical cord as substrate. IgA-tTG autoantibodies were determined by newly developed ELISA. Additionally, sera from patients with dermatitis herpetiformis (n = 20), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD; n = 32), chronic liver disease (n = 36), and diabetes mellitus (n = 19) were tested. RESULTS: The sensitivity of the tTG autoantibody ELISA accounted for 90% detection in patients with untreated celiac disease. The specificity was 76% owing to positive values in the lower range in patients with IBD (15%), chronic liver disease (36%), and diabetes (22%), all of whom were negative for EmA. In dermatitis herpetiformis patients 90% were EmA-positive. Of these, only 47% showed elevated tTG autoantibodies. Preincubation of sera from dermatitis patients with tTG abolished immunofluorescent staining of endomysial structures. CONCLUSION: Detection of mid- to high-titer tTG autoantibodies is highly specific for celiac disease. However, in the low-titer range, overlap exists with liver disease, IBD, and diabetes. Tissue transglutaminase autoantibodies may evolve as a new screening and follow-up method for celiac disease. Although tTG seems to be a major autoantigen in dermatitis herpetiformis, the low sensitivity of both tTG ELISA and immunofluorescence using human umbilical cord suggests differential involvement of tTG in this disease.


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