Serum IgA and IgG gluten antibody levels were measured prospectively in 168 children without abdominal symptoms referred to the outpatient clinic for short stature. Elevated (greater than 0.30 units) gluten IgA antibody levels (0.82 +/- 0.22 units) were detected in five children (aged 8.5 +/- 1.6 years, height standard deviation score -2.14 +/- 0.26). They had probable celiac disease based on villus atrophy at duodenal biopsy, in vitro toxicity of wheat gluten, and disappearance of serum gluten antibodies after gluten withdrawal from the diet. Three of these children had elevated IgG antibody levels (greater than 0.25 units). Elevated IgG antibody levels with normal IgA levels were demonstrated in 11 short children who had normal duodenal biopsy results. It is concluded that measurement of gluten antibodies, especially of the IgA type, should be included in the diagnostic evaluation of children with short stature.