Adolescents with celiac disease often fail to adhere to a strict gluten-free diet. The value of endomysial antibodies in assessing the dietary compliance of such adolescents has been assessed in 23 patients divided into four groups according to their daily gluten intake. Serum endomysial antibodies were absent in all subjects on a gluten-free diet and consistently present in those ingesting > 2 g/day of gluten. Only one of six and three of six teenagers with celiac disease with an intake of < 0.5 and 0.5-2 g/day, respectively, had endomysial antibodies in their serum, despite the presence in three of six and five of six of significant changes in the mucosal architecture, as shown by computerized morphometry of jejunal biopsies. In conclusion, endomysial antibodies cannot be considered a valid marker for slight dietary transgressions.