Serological screening (antigliadin and antiendomysium antibodies) for non-overt coeliac disease in children of short stature

Acta Paediatr Suppl. 1996 May;412:54-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.1996.tb14252.x.


This study aimed to assess the value of IgA-antigliadin and antiendomysium antibodies for coeliac disease screening in children with short stature. In 118 children with height less than the 3rd percentile for age preliminary work-up included absorption, hormonal and genetic studies, sweat test, X-ray for bone age, serum immunoglobulin levels and antigliadin antibodies. In 65 patients antiendomysium antibody and a small-intestinal biopsy were performed. Forty-three children had a normal mucosa and 22 a subtotal villous atrophy. Three coeliac children were negative for both antigliadin and antiendomysium antibodies; one further 11-year-old boy was negative only for antiendomysium antibodies. Sensitivity and specificity for antigliadin antibodies were 94.75% and 93%, respectively, and for antiendomysium antibodies 88.3% and 90.5%. Our results show that the use of antiendomysium antibodies as a confirmatory test to select patients for biopsy could result in coeliac disease going undiagnosed in adolescents.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antibodies / blood*
  • Body Height*
  • Celiac Disease / complications
  • Celiac Disease / diagnosis*
  • Celiac Disease / immunology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Gliadin / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin A / blood*
  • Immunoglobulin A / immunology
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Serologic Tests
  • Sex Distribution


  • Antibodies
  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Gliadin