IgA antiendomysial antibody test. A step forward in celiac disease screening

Dig Dis Sci. 1991 Jun;36(6):752-6. doi: 10.1007/BF01311232.


Serum IgA antiendomysial antibodies (EmA) were found in 61 (87%) of 70 adults and children with untreated celiac disease, whereas IgA antigliadin antibodies (AGA) and IgA R1-antireticulin antibodies (R1-ARA) were positive in 71% and 47%, respectively, of the same patients. Two of the nine untreated celiacs negative for IgA EmA showed positivity for IgA AGA. While IgA AGA and R1-ARA disappeared in all the celiacs tested one year after gluten-free diet, IgA EmA persisted at low titer in seven (18%) of these 38 subjects, although the jejunal biopsy showed a complete regrowth of jejunal villi. All the disease control patients as well as the blood donors tested were always negative for the three IgA antibodies. Our results state that the search for both IgA EmA and AGA gives the best results in the screening of celiac disease, since the positivity for at least one of these two antibodies allows identification with a 100% specificity of the 90% of untreated celiac patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Celiac Disease / diagnosis*
  • Celiac Disease / immunology
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Gliadin / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin A / analysis*
  • Male
  • Muscle, Smooth / immunology*
  • Myofibrils / immunology
  • Reticulin / immunology
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Reticulin
  • Gliadin