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Coeliac Disease in Infants: Antibodies to Deamidated Gliadin Peptide Come First!


Coeliac Disease in Infants: Antibodies to Deamidated Gliadin Peptide Come First!

Michele Arigliani et al. Ital J Pediatr.


Background: The onset of coeliac disease (CD) in the first year of life is uncommon and the diagnosis can be challenging due to the suboptimal sensitivity of tissue transglutaminase antibodies (tTG) at this age and the many other possible causes of malabsorption in infants. Antibodies to deamidated gliadin peptides (anti-DGPs), especially IgG, may appear earlier than IgA anti-tTG in very young children with CD.

Case presentation: We report here on an 8-month-old child who was evaluated for failure to thrive, constipation and developmental delay. The symptoms started following gluten introduction in the diet. Laboratory tests showed high fecal elastase concentration, normal serum IgA levels with positive IgG and IgA anti-DGPs, whereas anti-tTG were not detected. The duodenal biopsy revealed a complete villous atrophy (Marsh-Oberhuber 3C). The culture of biopsy fragments in the presence of gliadin peptides did not stimulate the production of IgA anti-endomysial antibodies. Genetic testing proved the child was positive for HLA-DQ2 (DQA1*05; DQB1*02) and HLA-DQ8 (DQA1*03, DQB1*0302). Having initiated the gluten-free diet, the symptoms disappeared and the infant experienced rapid catch-up growth with normalization of psychomotor development.

Conclusions: This case report highlights the utility of anti-DGPs for screening infants with suspected CD. The pattern with positivity for IgG and IgA anti-DGPs only is rare in IgA-competent children with biopsy-proven CD. It could be explained in infancy as immaturity of the adaptive immune system.

Keywords: Anti-deamidated gliadin peptides antibodies; Coeliac disease.

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Not applicable.

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Written informed consent for publication of the patient’s clinical details was obtained from the parents. A copy of the consent form is available for review by the Editor of this journal.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

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