Anti-tissue transglutaminase, anti-endomysium and anti-R1-reticulin autoantibodies-the antibody trinity of coeliac disease

Clin Exp Immunol. 1999 May;116(2):258-62. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2249.1999.00909.x.


Anti-tissue transglutaminase has been recently described as the predominant autoantigen in coeliac disease. We purified serum anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies from three patients with coeliac disease by column chromatography and eluted tissue section-bound R1-anti-reticulin antibodies from sections of rat tissue for two of these. Lastly, we generated seven mouse MoAbs to guinea pig tissue transglutaminase. Each preparation was examined for anti-tissue transglutaminase, anti-endomysium, anti-R1 reticulin and anti-gliadin antibodies. Column-purified patient antibodies and 2/7 mouse MoAbs gave characteristic anti-endomysium/anti-R1 reticulin reactivity on rat, monkey and human tissue. All positive sera gave indistinguishable patterns of immunofluorescence on rat liver, kidney and stomach, monkey oesophagus, and human umbilical cord. Anti-R1-reticulin eluted from sections showed anti-tissue transglutaminase reactivity in 2/2 cases, but 0/2 showed anti-gliadin reactivity. In both, tissue section-eluted anti-R1 reticulin gave endomysial staining on monkey oesophagus. None of the mouse monoclonals, or any of the purified patient's anti-tissue transglutaminase or anti-R1-reticulin antibody showed any reactivity with gliadin. These data confirm tissue transglutaminase as the predominant autoantigen in coeliac disease and suggest that both anti-endomysium and anti-R1 reticulin reactivities seen in coeliac disease arise due to an immune response to tissue transglutaminase. Rigorous immunoabsorption was sufficient to abrogate reactivity in the tissue transglutaminase ELISA, but failed to completely absorb anti-endomysium and anti-reticulin activity. The possibility remains that some of the anti-endomysium and anti-reticulin activity was directed against antigens other than tissue transglutaminase.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology
  • Autoantibodies / blood*
  • Celiac Disease / immunology*
  • Female
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal / immunology*
  • Rats
  • Reticulin / immunology*
  • Transglutaminases / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Autoantibodies
  • Reticulin
  • Transglutaminases