Clin Chem Lab Med. 2004;42(10):1092-7

Celiac.com 01/22/2005 - A study by Italian researchers has found that anti-tissue transglutaminase (tTG) antibodies, once considered to be identical to anti-endomysial antibodies (EMA) in celiac disease, can also be found in patients with inflammatory bowel disease. The researchers looked at serum and intestinal tTG levels in 49 patients with Crohns disease, 29 patients with ulcerative colitis, 45 patients with celiac disease, 85 autoimmune patients as disease controls, and 58 volunteers as healthy controls. Additionally, Immunoglobulin A (IgA) anti-recombinant human tissue transglutaminase and anti-endomysial antibody detection in sera and fecal supernatants, along with adsorption of positive sera with recombinant human tissue transglutaminase, were performed on all patients.

The researchers detected an increase in tTG concentration in all patients with celiac disease, and also low positive values in those with Crohns disease and ulcerative colitis, however the EMA were only detected in those with celiac disease. According to the researchers, the "Data highlight that both circulating and intestinal anti-tissue transglutaminases are detectable in inflammatory bowel disease, and that they are related to disease activity. These features underline that, in addition to anti-tissue transglutaminase, an anti-endomysial antibody test is necessary in the diagnostic work-up of celiac sprue, especially in patients with known inflammatory bowel disease."

This study supports others that have found that the sole use of tTG to diagnose celiac disease may lead to misdiagnoses, and EMA testing must be performed to make an accurate celiac disease diagnosis.

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