Recombinant human tissue transglutaminase for diagnosis and follow-up of childhood coeliac disease

Pediatr Res. 2002 Jun;51(6):700-5. doi: 10.1203/00006450-200206000-00007.


Highly discriminatory markers for celiac disease are needed to identify children with early mucosal lesions and for rapid follow-up. The aim of this study was to evaluate the potential of circulating anti-tissue transglutaminase (tTG) IgA and IgG antibodies in the diagnosis and follow-up of childhood celiac disease. An ELISA using recombinant human tTG was used to measure the levels of IgA and IgG anti-tTG antibodies in 226 serum samples from 57 children with biopsy-verified celiac disease, 29 disease control subjects, and 24 healthy control subjects. All samples were also analyzed for anti-endomysium antibodies (EMA). The levels of IgA and IgG anti-tTG antibodies correlated with the condition of the small intestinal villous structure and the serum levels of IgA EMA. All of the 25 serum samples obtained from untreated patients contained IgA anti-tTG antibodies, and 24 of 25 also had IgA EMA. Of the serum samples from 53 control children, two had IgA anti-tTG antibodies and two had IgA EMA. Children younger than 5 y of age with untreated celiac disease had the highest serum levels of both IgA and IgG anti-tTG. There was already an increase in IgA anti-tTG antibodies after 2 wk of gluten challenge (p < 0.01). Although the criteria-based diagnosis of childhood celiac disease still depends on histologic evaluation of intestinal biopsies, detection of anti-tTG antibodies provides useful complementary diagnostic information. The human recombinant tTG-based ELISA can be used as a sensitive and specific test to support the diagnosis and may also be used in the follow-up of treatment in childhood celiac disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Biomarkers
  • Biopsy
  • Celiac Disease / diagnosis*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / methods*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glutens
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin A / analysis
  • Immunoglobulin A / blood
  • Immunoglobulin G / analysis
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Infant
  • Intestine, Small / pathology
  • Male
  • Recombinant Proteins / immunology
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Transglutaminases / immunology*


  • Biomarkers
  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Glutens
  • Transglutaminases