Aims: The aims were to estimate the diagnostic sensitivity and specificity of autoantibodies to tissue transglutaminase (IgA- and IgG-tTG), gliadin (AGA) and endomysium (EMA) in relation to human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DQB1 alleles to identify silent celiac disease at diagnosis of type 1 diabetes.
Methods: IgA- and IgG-tTG were measured in radioligand binding assays in 165 type 1 diabetic patients. Data on HLA-DQB1 were available for 148 patients and on both AGA and EMA for 164 patients. For patients considered positive for AGA or EMA, or both, an intestinal biopsy was suggested. HLA-DQB1 typing was carried out by polymerase chain reaction and hybridization with allele specific probes.
Results: Three patients, left out from further study of antibodies, but not from HLA-DQB1 analysis, had treated celiac disease at diagnosis. Out of the other 162 type 1 diabetic patients tested, nine had IgA-tTG, six IgG-tTG, eight EMA, and 11 AGA. Biopsy was suggested for nine patients, of whom six showed villous atrophy, one did not and two refused to participate. Thus, silent celiac disease was probable in 8/162 and biopsy-verified in 6/162, where five patients were AGA-positive and six either EMA-, IgA-tTG- or IgG-tTG-positive. Of the 11 patients with celiac disease (three with treated and eight with silent celiac disease), 10 were HLA-DQB1-typed, of whom 65% (13/20) had the DQB1*02 allele, compared with 36% (100/276; p = 0.011) of those without celiac disease. IgA-tTG levels were higher in patients having either *02 or *0302 (0.6; -1.3-112.4 RU) compared with those not having these alleles (0.4; -0.7-3.4 RU; p = 0.023).
Conclusion: IgA-tTG are HLA-DQB1*02-associated autoantibodies with high sensitivity and specificity for silent celiac disease at diagnosis of type 1 diabetes.