IgA antibodies to tissue transglutaminase: An effective diagnostic test for celiac disease

J Pediatr. 1999 Feb;134(2):166-71. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3476(99)70410-5.


Objective: Tissue transglutaminase (tTG) is the main autoantigen recognized by endomysial antibodies. The aim of this study was to assess sensitivity, specificity, and predictive value of IgA and IgG antibodies to tTG in the diagnosis of celiac disease compared with endomysial antibodies.

Study design: We established enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay procedures to measure IgA and IgG antibodies to tTG in sera from 48 untreated and 33 treated patients with celiac disease and from 63 patients with gastrointestinal disease who were in a control group. Sera from 10 patients with celiac disease were examined at various times after gluten was reintroduced into the patients' diet.

Results: Both IgA and IgG to tTG were significantly (P <.001) higher in serum of untreated patients with celiac disease versus those in the control group; IgA but not IgG was significantly (P <.001) higher in untreated versus treated patients with celiac disease. IgA and IgG antitissue tTG had a diagnostic sensitivity, specificity, and positive predictive value of 92% and 21%, 98% and 97%, and 98% and 83%, respectively. The concordance rate of IgA anti-tTG with IgA antiendomysial antibodies was 95%. In 5 of the 10 patients undergoing gluten challenge, IgA antiendomysium antibodies were detected earlier than IgA anti-tTG antibodies.

Conclusions: tTG-based enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay is an effective diagnostic test, although immunofluorescent-based assays are more sensitive, particularly during gluten challenge.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Celiac Disease / blood*
  • Celiac Disease / diagnosis*
  • Celiac Disease / enzymology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • GTP Phosphohydrolases / immunology*
  • GTP Phosphohydrolases / metabolism
  • GTP-Binding Proteins*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin A / blood*
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood*
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Protein Glutamine gamma Glutamyltransferase 2
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Transglutaminases / immunology*
  • Transglutaminases / metabolism


  • Biomarkers
  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Protein Glutamine gamma Glutamyltransferase 2
  • Transglutaminases
  • GTP Phosphohydrolases
  • GTP-Binding Proteins