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  • Jefferson Adams

    Anti-transglutaminase 6 Antibody Development in Children with Celiac Disease Correlates With Length of Gluten Exposure

    Jefferson Adams


    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      Anti-transglutaminase 6 Antibody Development in Children With Celiac Disease Correlates With Length of Gluten Exposure


    Caption: Photo: CC--Shakreez

    Celiac.com 03/06/2018 - A number of clinicians and researchers have suspected that antibodies against transglutaminase 6 (anti-TG6) play a role in neurological issues in adult patients with genetic gluten intolerance, but it is not known if autoimmunity to TG6 develops after long-term consumption of gluten.

    A team of researchers recently set out to establish a correlation between these autoantibodies and the duration of gluten exposure by measuring the anti-TG6 in children with celiac disease at diagnosis. The team then investigated a correlation between anti-TG6 and the presence of neurological disorders.



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    The research team included L De Leo, D Aeschlimann, M Hadjivassiliou, P Aeschlimann, N Salce, S Vatta, F Ziberna, G Cozzi, S Martelossi, A Ventura, and T Not. They are variously affiliated with the Institute for Maternal and Child Health-IRCCS "Burlo Garofolo" Trieste, Trieste, Italy; Matrix Biology and Tissue Repair Research Unit, School of Dentistry, and Arthritis Research UK Biomechanics and Bioengineering Centre of Excellence, College of Biomedical and Life Sciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff; the Department of Neurology at the Royal Hallmshire Hospital, Sheffield, UK; and with the University of Trieste in Trieste, Italy.

    The team used ELISA to measure anti-TG6 (IgA/IgG) in children with biopsy-proven celiac disease and of children experiencing gastrointestinal disorders. Celiac disease patients who tested positive for anti-TG6 were retested after 2 years of gluten-free diet. In all, the team analyzed test results for 274 children with celiac disease, along with 121 control subjects.

    They found anti-TG6 in 68 out of 274 celiac disease patients and in 19/121 control subjects, though the differences between the two groups was significant. None of the celiac patients or the controls who tested positive for anti-TG6 suffered from neurological disorders. Eleven of 18 celiac disease patients with other autoimmune diseases tested positive for anti-TG6. 

    Among the celiac disease patients, the team found a significant correlation between the gluten exposure before the celiac disease diagnosis and anti-TG6 concentration. The gluten-free diet substantially reduced the anti-TG6 concentrations. The team found no significant correlation between anti-TG6 and anti-TG2 serum concentrations.

    Anti-TG6 is much more common in children with untreated celiac disease , but with no apparent neurological disorders. The synthesis of the anti-TG6 is associated with longer exposure to gluten prior to celiac diagnosis, while the autoimmunity against TG6 is gluten dependent and disappears with a gluten-free diet.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,500 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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