Spontaneous normalization of anti-tissue transglutaminase antibody levels is common in children with type 1 diabetes mellitus

Dig Dis Sci. 2012 May;57(5):1314-20. doi: 10.1007/s10620-011-2016-0. Epub 2011 Dec 16.


Background: The prevalence of celiac disease among type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) patients is 5-10 times higher than in the general population. Thus, evaluation of celiac serology is indicated at diagnosis of T1DM and on follow up.

Aim: This study was prompted by the observation that elevated anti-TTG antibody levels in diabetic children may spontaneously normalize despite continued consumption of gluten. The objective of the study was to investigate the prevalence of this phenomenon and associated factors.

Materials and methods: The files of all children diagnosed with type 1 diabetes mellitus from 2003-2009 at a tertiary pediatric medical center were reviewed for those with elevated serum levels of anti-TTG antibody. Clinical, medical, laboratory, and treatment data were collected. Findings were compared between patients diagnosed with celiac disease and patients with initially elevated anti-TTG antibody levels that spontaneously normalized.

Results: Forty-eight of the 738 patients with type 1 diabetes attending our center (6.5%) had elevated anti-TTG antibody blood levels. Celiac disease was diagnosed in 23, and anti-TTG antibody levels normalized in 17 (35.4%), all of whom consumed gluten. At one-year follow-up, there was no significant difference between the groups in HbA1c level or change in anthropometric measurements.

Conclusion: Physicians treating children with type 1 diabetes and mildly elevated anti-TTG antibody levels might consider 12-month serologic follow-up on a gluten-containing diet rather than immediate duodenal biopsy.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anthropometry
  • Antibodies / blood*
  • Asymptomatic Diseases
  • Celiac Disease* / etiology
  • Celiac Disease* / immunology
  • Celiac Disease* / metabolism
  • Celiac Disease* / physiopathology
  • Celiac Disease* / therapy
  • Child
  • Child Health Services
  • Child Nutrition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Child Nutrition Disorders / etiology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1* / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1* / immunology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1* / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1* / physiopathology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1* / therapy
  • Diet, Gluten-Free
  • Female
  • Glutens / metabolism
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / analysis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / methods
  • Remission, Spontaneous
  • Transglutaminases / immunology*


  • Antibodies
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Glutens
  • Transglutaminases