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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   04/07/2018

      This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.   Subscribe to Celiac.com's FREE weekly eNewsletter   What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease?  Celiac Disease Screening Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful? The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients) Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients) Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free? Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet What if my doctor won't listen to me? An Open Letter to Skeptical Health Care Practitioners Gluten-Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes
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    INTERPRETATION OF CELIAC DISEASE BLOOD TEST RESULTS


    admin

    The following detailed explanation of serological tests for celiac disease was written by Tom Ryan, Technical Service Specialist, INOVA Diagnostics, Inc.


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    There has been a lot of discussion about serological testing for celiac disease recently, specifically regarding tTG (tissue Transglutaminase) testing. I will try to answer some of the many questions that have appeared on this list about all of the tests. First, and this applies to any of the blood tests, you must currently be on a gluten containing diet for the tests to be accurate. Antibodies are produced by the immune system in response to substances that the body perceives as threatening. The immune response that your body produces is its response to being exposed to gluten in the diet and its subsequent effect on the intestinal mucosa. If there is no gluten in the diet, then there is no response that we can measure. A brief change in diet will not have a noticeable effect. If you have been gluten free for a week or so, it will not make any great difference. The response might be marginally less but the difference is insignificant because the body has not had time to respond to the change. Conversely, if you have been gluten free for a protracted period of time and decide to be tested, a brief challenge of a couple of weeks is not enough to elicit a response and get an accurate test.

    There are several steps that take place to generate an immune response and it takes time both for the positive reaction when gluten is present and to clear the antibodies when gluten is eliminated. There has been a great deal of discussion about how much and how long a challenge should be and there is no consensus. Talk with your Doctor. My personal feeling is that the minimum is 2 slices of bread per day for 6 weeks to get an accurate test but I would not try to second-guess the Doctor. There are basically four tests that can be performed to aid in diagnosing celiac disease. Notice that I say they will aid in diagnosing celiac disease. Immunology is fairly accurate but it is far from being an exact science. All of the lab tests, regardless of the type or source, are presented as aids to diagnosis. They should not be used alone as a basis for diagnosis but rather are intended to be considered in conjunction with the physical examination of the patient as well as the reported symptoms, etc. by a trained physician. There has been a great deal of confusion about what the tests are and I hope to alleviate some of the misunderstandings. There are many terms that we hear. tTG, IgA, IgG, ELISA, etc. What are all of these? Some contributors to the list make reference to the IgA or IgG test or to the ELISA test. These labels are incomplete for our purposes and could be referring to any number of different tests.

    We all have, within our bodies, a family of closely related although not identical proteins which are capable of acting as antibodies. These are collectively referred to as immunoglobulins. Five major types of immunoglobulins are normally present in the human adult. They are IgG, IgA, IgM, IgE and IgD. Each of these is a shorthand way of writing immunoglobulin gamma G (or A or M, etc.) and they each perform a different function in our systems. IgG is the principal immunoglobulin in human serum. It is important in providing immunity in a developing fetus because it will pass across the placental barrier. IgA is the principal immunoglobulin in secretions from respiratory and intestinal mucosa. IgE is a gamma globulin produced by cells lining the intestinal and respiratory tracts. It produces the antibodies associated with most hypersensitivity (allergic) responses. It is associated with asthma, hay fever, etc. IgM is a globulin formed in almost every immune response in the early part of the reaction. IgD is a rare protein present in normal sera in a tiny amount. These designations refer to the type of protein that is carrying the antibody in question. Both IgG and IgA subtypes of anti-gliadin antibody are produced, hence we refer to them as IgG gliadin or IgA gliadin. Collectively they are anti-gliadin antibodies.

    Anti-Gliadin Antibodies:

    Both IgA and IgG anti-gliadin antibodies (AGA) are detected in sera of patients with gluten sensitive enteropathy (celiac disease). IgG anti-gliadin antibodies are more sensitive but are less specific markers for disease compared with IgA class antibodies. IgA anti-gliadin antibodies are less sensitive but are more specific. In clinical trials, the IgA antibodies have a specificity of 97% but the sensitivity is only 71%. That means that, if a patient is IgA positive, there is a 97% probability that they have celiac disease. Conversely, if the patient is IgA negative, there is only a 71% probability that the patient is truly negative for celiac disease. Therefore, a positive result is a strong indication that the patient has the disease but a negative result does not necessarily mean that they don not have it. False positive results are rather uncommon but false negative results can occur. On the other hand, the IgG anti-gliadin antibodies are 91% specific and have an 87% sensitivity. This means that they will show positive results more readily but there is not as strong a correlation with celiac disease. It is less specific. Patients with other conditions but not afflicted with celiac disease will occasionally show positive results. IgG anti-gliadin antibodies are detectable in approximately 21% of patients with other gastrointestinal disorders. This test might yield false positive results but is less likely to yield false negative results.

    A sensitive testing protocol includes testing for both IgA and IgG anti-gliadin antibodies since a significant portion of celiac patients (approx. 2-5%) are IgA deficient. This combined IgA and IgG anti-gliadin antibody assay has an overall sensitivity of 95% with a specificity of 90%. The type of test used to detect the anti-gliadin antibodies is called an ELISA. This is an acronym and it stands for Enzyme Linked Immuno-Sorbent Assay. ELISA is not a test in itself. It is a method of testing and it is a relatively simple test to perform. It involves putting a measured amount of diluted patient serum into the wells of a specially constructed and prepared plate and incubating it for a period of time with various chemicals. The end result is a color change, the intensity of which is dependent upon the concentration of anti-gliadin antibody (or other protein being measured) in the patient serum. The ability of this colored solution to absorb light at a particular wavelength can be measured on a laboratory instrument and mathematically compared with solutions that contain a known amount of anti-gliadin antibody to arrive at a number for the amount of antibody present. The sample can then be classified as negative, (0-20 units); weak positive, (21-30 units); or moderate to strong positive if greater than 30 units. The purpose of testing for anti-gliadin antibodies includes, in addition to diagnosis of gluten sensitive enteropathy, monitoring for compliance to a gluten free diet. IgA gliadin antibodies increase rapidly in response to gluten in the diet and decrease rapidly when gluten is absent from the diet. The IgA anti-gliadin antibodies can totally disappear in 2-6 months on a gluten free diet, so they are useful as a diet control. By contrast, IgG anti-gliadin antibodies need a long time, sometimes more than a year, to become negative. The reverse is also true. That is, a patient with celiac disease who has been on a gluten free diet and tests negative for IgA anti-gliadin antibodies, will show a rapid increase in antibody production when challenged by gluten in the diet. Approximately 90% of challenged patients will yield a positive IgA anti-gliadin result within 14-35 days after being challenged. The IgG antibodies are somewhat slower.

    Endomysial Antibodies:

    IgA class anti-endomysial antibodies (AEA) are very specific, occurring only in celiac disease and DH. These antibodies are found in approximately 80% of patients with DH and in essentially 100% of patients with active celiac disease. IgA endomysial antibodies are more sensitive and specific than gliadin antibodies for diagnosis of celiac disease. Antibody titers (dilutions) are found to parallel morphological changes in the jejunum and can also be used to reflect compliance with gluten-free diets. Titers decrease or become negative in patients on gluten free diets and reappear upon gluten challenge.

    The test for anti-endomysial antibodies is more subjective and more complicated for the lab to perform than the anti-gliadin assays. It involves serially diluting some of the patients serum, that is, diluting it by ½ then ¼, 1/8, 1/16, etc. and putting these dilutions on a glass slide that has some sort of tissue affixed to it. The slide is then processed with various solutions and examined under a fluorescent microscope to determine if any of that serum binds to any of the proteins in the tissue. If so, then that patient is confirmed as having antibodies to that particular protein. This method of testing is called an IFA or sometimes IIFA. It stands for Indirect Immuno-Fluorescent Assay. The selection of which tissue slide to use is determined by what specific protein, hence which antibody, you are specifically looking for. Endomysial antibodies react with the endomysium, which is a sheath of reticular fibrils that surround each muscle fiber. Therefore, to detect endomysial antibodies, you would want to use a tissue substrate that contains a lot of muscle tissue. The substrate used most often for this assay is distal sections of the esophagus. These are very thinly sliced and fixed to the slide. They contain muscle fibers and not much else so there is a lot of endomysium available to react with the anti-endomysial antibodies.

    Reading this test involves viewing the reacted slides with a fluorescent microscope to make the determination. This requires a highly skilled and trained eye and, of necessity, is somewhat subjective. You are looking for a green fluorescence in the endomysium covering the muscle fibers. The test is reported as the titer or final dilution in which the fluorescence can still clearly be seen. As you can imagine, this is very subjective. There are no standardized values and it is up to the judgment of the particular technician what the endpoint titer is. Recently, (1998) the endomysial antigen targeted by the anti-endomysial antibodies was identified as the protein cross-linking enzyme known as tissue transglutaminase (tTG). This has enabled the production of an antigen specific ELISA assay incorporating tTG as a reliable and objective alternative to the traditional and subjective Immunofluorescence based assays. In clinical trials, the correlation with the endomysial IFA assay has been shown to be close to 100%. This is a test that has been very well received in the professional community. It is an ELISA, like the anti-gliadin antibody test and, as such, is not subject to interpretation like the IFA. That is the greatest advantage to this new test! With this or any ELISA, the response is measured on an instrument that calculates the amount of light of a particular wavelength that is absorbed by the solution and prints out a numerical result. There is no chance of human error skewing the results because there is no judgment call involved. The ELISA plate, regardless of what you are testing for, is processed with at least three control sera (sometimes as many as eight) in addition to the unknown sample being tested. There is a negative serum and at least two positive sera containing different levels of the antibody being tested. There are specific requirements for the absorption levels of these three controls. That is, each of them has a minimum or maximum (or both) number that must be seen by the instrument in order for it to be a valid test. If there is any variance from these expected numbers, it is an indication that something went wrong and the test results are discarded and the test repeated. There is therefore no way the technician could report inaccurate results, (assuming they diluted the sample correctly). Either the test was valid, and you can rely upon the accuracy of the result, or the test is invalid, and the entire result discarded. If any error was made during the processing of the ELISA plate, it would result in the control sera numbers being out of range and the entire test result would be thrown out.

    In summary, the tTG ELISA is measuring the same thing that the endomysial IFA is measuring but with a method that is more sensitive and specific and not subject to interpretation. IgA class Reticulin antibodies are found only in Celiac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis. These antibodies are found in approximately 60% of celiac disease patients and 25% of DH patients. This test is falling into disuse because of the limited utility and the availability of better tests. It is an IFA performed on a tissue substrate with all the attendant problems that go along with it. The development of all of these serum assays has tremendously simplified the diagnosis of celiac disease and improved the accuracy as well. The original criteria for diagnosis according to the European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, (ESPGAN), involved a year of arduous studies with:

    • An initial positive gut biopsy;
    • 6 months on a gluten free diet;
    • A second, negative gut biopsy;
    • A gluten challenge for 6 months and;
    • A third, positive gut biopsy. The revised ESPGAN criteria call for positive results in two of the serological tests confirmed by a single positive biopsy. In practice, many gastroenterologists are utilizing the serologies in conjunction with a controlled diet and the clinical presentation to form a basis for diagnosis without the need for the invasive procedure.

    Through the auspices of the Celiac Disease Foundation and others, a professional symposium and workshop was organized earlier this year in Marina Del Rey, California with participants from Europe as well as the U.S. to establish standards for reporting test results. This should improve testing and diagnosis even more. At the conclusion of this conference a Celiac Disease Standardization Committee was formed to investigate and make recommendations on a standardized method of reporting results.

    Edited by admin


    Image Caption: Images: CC--Scott Robinson
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    Guest Nancy

    Posted

    Great explanation of the tests, now I know what to ask the doctor for to make sure they run all the necessary tests.

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    Guest Rachel

    Posted

    Great article - the only one I found online that came close to explaining the IgA and IgG ELISA in terms I could understand (my doctor is a bit ADD.) But now I have more questions. On my IgA and IgG ELISA test results for food sensitivity, my 'big ones' were yeasts, milk products, and nuts. On both the IgA and IgG tests I had much lower reactions to gluten / grainy products in general. I wasn't on a gluten free diet when I tested, but still had not been a big bread or grain eater in general. But now I'm wondering if registering a positive on both tests is something to think further about. I did read somewhere that sensitivity to milk products can produce results similar to gluten sensitivity? Any thoughts on that?

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    Guest Lenore

    Posted

    Now I have a better concept of what was tested, why, the validity and how I can better understand my own test results.

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    Guest Kathleen Taylor

    Posted

    Now I understand! I think the dermatologist and gastroenterologist thought it was too complicated to explain - and thus I did not take them seriously!

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    Guest Deborah

    Posted

    I wish I had read this before testing. I have been on a gluten free diet almost all the time for 10 months, and thought that the antibodies would show up on the test if I ate wheat the day before testing. I think my tests are false negative, but definitely don't want to undergo biopsy to prove it.

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    It seems cruel and unnecessary to put someone back on a diet containing gluten after 6 months of being gluten free. I quit eating gluten after my mother and sister were diagnosed with celiac . I feel so much better that I don't need a 'confirmation ' by a doctor or invasive procedure.

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    Guest Heather kerekffy

    Posted

    Finally an explanation! I was low on my IgA but high positive on IgG and so sick and my doc said, 'at some point in the past, gluten made you very sick, but you're fine now.'.. He was totally ignoring my symptoms! That was two years ago and he still doesn't believe I have it, even though since then he diagnosed me with osteopenia.. I've been off gluten for about 3 months now, and my chronic migraines and stomach problems are gone! my doc still doesn't believe I have it, but IBS instead! give me a break! And these are Seattle gastroenterologists!

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    Great article. I finally understood better the interpretation of the test results. I would like to see a table of the combination of tests usually done, the results (negative, positive) and possible interpretation of whether or not the disease can be presumed. I tested positive for anti gliadin IgA and negative for anti endomysium Iga and the doctor really does not know the meaning. My sister is confirmed celiac and I have IBS symptoms.

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    My doctor ordered the IGA test knowing that I've been on a gluten free diet for 4 months. It came out negative & took me out of the diet. Now I'm back to my old diarrhea nightmare. Now I know why. I'll definitely go back to my gluten free diet! Thanks!

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    Guest Jill from UK

    Posted

    Thank you for explaining the whole testing sequence in simple terms so that I can understand them.

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    Guest Shelia  Ryan

    Posted

    Very interesting. I am having more testing and hopefully people will realize I was not a fussy eater. The food did not agree with me.

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    Guest Sharese

    Posted

    This article is the best. It really explained my sons results and I fully understand that he definitely has a gluten sensitivity. I printed it to share with other moms at my sons school. Even my PCP didn't know how to interpret it..I'm a RN and I found this to be very simple and informative.

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    In the hopes this will help someone, I'm posting my before and after Celiac panel test results.

     

    On 4/10/09 (diagnosed)

    Deamidated Gliad IgAH 127

    Deaminated Gliad IgGH 104

    Tranglut IgA 43

     

    On 6/12/09 (gluten free diet)

    127 -> 58 (goal under 10)

    104-> 48 (goal under 10)

    43 -> 10 (goal under 3)

     

    So after being on gluten free diet from 4/10/09-6/12/09, 8 weeks, already seeing dramatic reductions in antibody levels. Not done yet, but are headed in the right direction. I didn't see this kind of information posted anywhere, so hoping this information is helpful.

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    Guest Lisa Shroyer

    Posted

    Thank you for putting a complicated process into words that the patient can understand. I have spent hours poring over material and couldn't understand it or it was simply to vague. I finally understand what my doctor is saying to me.

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    Thanks for this. You mentioned that "IgG anti-gliadin antibodies are detectable in approximately 21% of patients with other gastrointestinal disorders."

     

    What other gastrointestinal disorders could also come back positive with IgG? Is it possible to have a positive IgG but be disease-free?

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    Guest Susan Tees

    Posted

    I keep coming back to this wonderful article for reference. Wonderfully thorough and scientific.

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    Guest Maggie L.

    Posted

    I'm getting the blood panel tomorrow. In the past 10 years, I have avoided gluten since it made me bloated. I've also had fertility issues, osteopenia, floating stools, and signs of vitamin deficiency. Recently, I've been unknowingly eating gluten in the form of oats for about 6 weeks. After researching celiac online, I've decided to get tested. But now I realize that I might get a false negative. We'll see... I'll bet there are others out there in my same situation, so I'll let you know my test results and what I plan to do. The thought of pasta, pastries and sandwiches makes my head happy, (Happy Holidays!), but I know my gut will be miserable, just to prove a diagnosis.

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    Guest Adolph Schaber

    Posted

    I am still a bit confused. I have a high gliadin IgA Ab at 75 High, and a negative Gliadin IGG ab at 27.0. My Transglutaminiase IGA autoab was 4.0 and my Endomysial IgA was negative and my Immunoglobulin A was 332.0 Does this mean that because only my Gliadin IgA ab was abnormally high that I don't have celiac disease being that the other antibodies were within normal limits. What does a high Gliadin IGA AB represent.

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    Guest Phillipa Sheard

    Posted

    In order for you to get a true test result you can not eat out. Gluten is in everything. Dry beans are persevered with Wheat, as Scott Adams said to me a couple of days " The Food May Be Cross Contaminated" Try to eat veggies,or anything you feel in manufactures can be cross contaminated with Gluten and then go take another Panel.

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    admin

    Great Smokies Diagnostic Laboratory (GSDL), a private, rapid-growth Functional Medicine Clinical laboratory, announced today receipt of 510(K) market clearance from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its Intestinal Permeability test kit, utilizing the lactulose-mannitol challenge drink. Used in the non-invasive assessment of intestinal permeability, the test demonstrated its superior sensitivity as compared to the existing d-xylose test in measuring intestinal permeability, a measurement used in the diagnosis of gastrointestinal malabsorption syndromes, such as celiac disease, colitis, Crohns disease, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
    What is intestinal permeability?
    Intestinal permeability refers to impairment of the intestinal mucosal barrier, which is central to healthy absorption of nutrients and protection against bacterial and toxin translocation from the gastrointestinal (GI) tract to the blood stream. Disturbances in mucosal barrier function can lead to malnourishment and increased permeability (leaky gut) which can cause or contribute to disease conditions throughout the body as diverse as asthma, arthritis, and food allergies.
    What are gastrointestinal malabsorption syndromes?
    Although the Centers for Disease Control (celiac disease) has not gathered statistics specifically for malabsorption itself, tens of millions of Americans suffer from related gut mucosal integrity conditions responsible for enormous healthcare expense. Arthritis, for example, strikes over 43 million annually at a cost of more than $65 million (celiac disease), while functional gastrointestinal disorders are responsible for an estimated 2.5 to 3.5 million visits to doctors every year and some $40 million in medication expenditures (University of North Carolina Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders Center). The incidence of these health disorders and other intestinal permeability related- conditions continues to grow at an alarming rate.
    The growing use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), which can irritate the mucosal lining, has contributed significantly to an increase intestinal permeability worldwide. Intestinal Permeability Assessment can be used to monitor treatment of NSAID-related damage to the mucosal barrier and intestinal permeability-related to other irritants in the GI tract. An estimated 20% or more of patients taking NSAIDS develop systematic or endoscopic gastrointestinal toxicity with incidence increasing among the elderly, who account for 40-60% of NSAID users (Canadian Medical Association Journal 1996; 155: 77-88).
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    GSDL is the first commercial laboratory to offer Intestinal permeability testing. Utilizing state-of-the art technology, GSDL has developed a comprehensive range of functional assessments in the areas of gastroenterology, endocrinology, cardiology, nutrition/metabolism, and immunology. The laboratory conducts aggressive, ongoing research and development for innovative functional assessments.

    Dr. Rodney Ford M.D.
    This article appeared in the Summer 2007 edition of Celiac.com's Scott-Free Newsletter.
    This question, “how early can you diagnose celiac disease?” is a major concern for both parents and paediatricians.  This is because, like many diseases, celiac disease comes on slowly.  This means that it can take a long time to make the diagnosis.
    Celiac disease can develop slowly?
    Yes, celiac disease can develop very slowly.  The symptoms can be subtle.  It is a progressive disease.  When you are first born, you cannot have celiac disease as you have never been exposed to gluten.  However, if you have the right genetic make up (that is you have the celiac gene) and the right environmental circumstances (eating gluten and getting gut inflammation), then celiac disease can develop.
    Finding tissue damage
    Celiac disease is a condition that is recognised when you get damage to your small bowel tissue.  This damage is triggered by gluten.
    The standard way to detect this tissue damage is by taking a gut biopsy of the small bowel skin (also called the mucosa).  This is done by the technique of upper endoscopy whilst under an anaesthetic.  Tiny fragments of gut tissue are snipped off with a pair of forceps.   This tissue is then sent to a pathology lab.  The lab people (histologists) look down their microscopes at this tissue sample.  They are looking for the gut damage called villous atrophy which is characteristic of disease.
    Early antibody changes – IgG-gliadin
    Importantly, long before the tissue becomes obviously damaged by gluten, your body can begin to react to the gluten in your diet.
    An early sign of a gluten immune reaction is that your body produces antibodies to the gluten in your diet.  This can be seen in a blood test that looks for an antibody called the IgG-gliadin antibody (also known as anti-gliadin-antibody).  Also the IgA-gliadin antibody can develop at this time.
    Even in these early stages of gluten reactions (before the development of any gut damage of celiac disease), you or your child can be feeling unwell.  Many of the symptoms of celiac disease can be recognized in these early stages.  This is before the tissue damage can be seen by the histologist.
    The blood test to look for tissue damage is called the tissue transglutaminase antibody (abbreviated as tTG).
    Early bowel damage cannot be seen
    The next thing to happen is that the tissue in the small bowel gets slightly injured but not enough to be identified by the histologist.  However, such damage can be shown by an electron microscope.  This early damage can also be detected by the presence of the tTG antibody.
    Usually, when the tTG blood test goes up, then this is an indication to do the endoscopy and look for any tissue damage.  However, early in the progression of celiac disease, this damage may not show up by conventional methods.  This means that the small bowel biopsy and the histology results are good for confirming celiac disease, but they cannot rule it out.
    To act or to wait?
    In my experience, I have seen a number of children develop celiac disease whilst I have watched and waited.  While we doctors wait and see if the gut will become progressively damaged, these children will continue to experience their gut symptoms and they may not be growing so well. We doctors are waiting to make a certain diagnosis of celiac disease.  We want to repeat their blood tests and do another endoscopy.
    Is this reasonable?  Experience has changed my mind.  I have come to the conclusion that this is not an appropriate way to deal with these children.  Currently, most medical specialists are adamant. They will not make a diagnosis of celiac disease until the histologist can confirm the typical tissue damage.
    How long can you wait?
    I have given up the “wait and see” approach.  I act.  I carefully scrutinize the symptoms and the blood test results - the gluten antibodies (IgG-gliadin) and tissue damage antibody (tTG) levels.  I may organise an endoscopy test.  If these findings suggest the development of celiac disease, then I make a pre-emptive diagnosis of “early celiac disease”, often before the gut gets badly damaged.  I give these children a trial of a gluten-free diet – I see what their clinical response is.  Pleasingly, most get completely better!  If they get better, then they want to stay gluten-free.
    The problem is that the diagnosis of celiac disease currently hinges on the abnormal appearance of the small bowel.  This damage can take years to develop.  
    The main argument against my approach is that if you do not have a “definite” diagnosis of celiac disease, then you cannot advise a gluten-free diet for life.  In my opinion, the decision to go on a gluten-free diet is not a black and white choice.  For children, I give them the option of a gluten-free diet early in their disease.  Let them feel well.  Let them grow properly.  Later, as an adult, they can challenge their diagnosis and have a formal gluten challenge when they understand the issues.       
    Conclusion – my approach
    As you can see, it is difficult to say how early you can diagnose celiac disease.  It is my practice to carefully assess children regarding their symptoms, their antibody levels, their genetic status and their endoscopy results (if appropriate).
    I do not think it is logical to leave children with significant symptoms waiting for the small bowel damage to eventually occur.  Indeed, I think that these long delays in treatment are inhumane.  Postponement of a gluten-free diet will cause these children to suffer ongoing symptoms.  Worse, they can have growth failure, from which they may not recover.
    My approach is to put these children on a gluten-free diet early.  I watch and see if thy have a clinical response: if they get better.   The evidence shows that you cannot rely entirely on the small bowel biopsy for your diagnosis of celiac disease.  These children can have a gluten challenge later in their lives.
    The onset of celiac disease is progressive.  Why wait until the bitter end before going gluten-free? The onset of celiac disease is progressive.  Why wait until the bitter end before going gluten-free?  You can find out a lot more from my webpage: www.doctorgluten.com


    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 08/11/2009 - While the use of anti-tTG antibodies is common practice in the diagnosis of celiac disease, their value in long-term follow-up remains controversial. A team of researchers recently set out to assess the value of anti-tTG antibodies in long-term follow-up.
    The research team was made up of C.R. Dipper, S. Maitra, R. Thomas, C.A. Lamb, A.P.C. McLean-Tooke, R. Ward, D. Smith, G. Spickett, and J.C. Mansfield. Their goal was to see if they could use serial anti-tTG antibody levels to gauge adherence to a gluten-free diet (GFD) and to spot patients facing complications from celiac disease.
    Researchers conducted a cohort follow-up study of 182 adult subjects over 54-months. The team charted patient self-assessment of gluten-free diet adherence; anti-tTG antibody concentration and serum ferritin, vitamin B12 and folate. When possible, they measured bone mineral density (BMD) and duodenal histology.
    The team found that patients with persistently high anti-tTG antibody levels commonly showed abnormal duodenal histology (P < 0.001), low ferritin (P < 0.01) and poor adherence to the GFD (P < 0.001).
    Anti-tTG antibody specificity was > 85% while the sensitivity was 39–60%. Anti-tTG antibody concentrations fell rapidly following successful implementation of a gluten-free diet, and remained normal in those who faithfully followed the gluten-free diet.
    From these results, the team advocates the use of anti-tTG antibody concentrations to monitor newly diagnosed and established patients with celiac disease, and to target dietary intervention accordingly to reduce the risk of long-term problems.

    Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics. 2009;30(3):236-244.


  • Recent Articles

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 04/19/2018 - Previous genome and linkage studies indicate the existence of a new disease triggering mechanism that involves amino acid metabolism and nutrient sensing signaling pathways. In an effort to determine if amino acids might play a role in the development of celiac disease, a team of researchers recently set out to investigate if plasma amino acid levels differed among children with celiac disease compared with a control group.
     
    The research team included Åsa Torinsson Naluai, Ladan Saadat Vafa, Audur H. Gudjonsdottir, Henrik Arnell, Lars Browaldh, and Daniel Agardh. They are variously affiliated with the Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Microbiology & Immunology, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden; the Institute of Clinical Sciences, Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden; the Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Karolinska University Hospital and Division of Pediatrics, CLINTEC, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden; the Department of Clinical Science and Education, Karolinska Institute, Sodersjukhuset, Stockholm, Sweden; the Department of Mathematical Sciences, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden; the Diabetes & Celiac Disease Unit, Department of Clinical Sciences, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden; and with the Nathan S Kline Institute in the U.S.A.
    First, the team used liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS) to analyze amino acid levels in fasting plasma samples from 141 children with celiac disease and 129 non-celiac disease controls. They then crafted a general linear model using age and experimental effects as covariates to compare amino acid levels between children with celiac disease and non-celiac control subjects.
    Compared with the control group, seven out of twenty-three children with celiac disease showed elevated levels of the the following amino acids: tryptophan; taurine; glutamic acid; proline; ornithine; alanine; and methionine.
    The significance of the individual amino acids do not survive multiple correction, however, multivariate analyses of the amino acid profile showed significantly altered amino acid levels in children with celiac disease overall and after correction for age, sex and experimental effects.
    This study shows that amino acids can influence inflammation and may play a role in the development of celiac disease.
    Source:
    PLoS One. 2018; 13(3): e0193764. doi: & 10.1371/journal.pone.0193764

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 04/18/2018 - To the relief of many bewildered passengers and crew, no more comfort turkeys, geese, possums or other questionable pets will be flying on Delta or United without meeting the airlines' strict new requirements for service animals.
    If you’ve flown anywhere lately, you may have seen them. People flying with their designated “emotional support” animals. We’re not talking genuine service animals, like seeing eye dogs, or hearing ear dogs, or even the Belgian Malinois that alerts its owner when there is gluten in food that may trigger her celiac disease.
    Now, to be honest, some of those animals in question do perform a genuine service for those who need emotional support dogs, like veterans with PTSD.
    However, many of these animals are not service animals at all. Many of these animals perform no actual service to their owners, and are nothing more than thinly disguised pets. Many lack proper training, and some have caused serious problems for the airlines and for other passengers.
    Now the major airlines are taking note and introducing stringent requirements for service animals.
    Delta was the first to strike. As reported by the New York Times on January 19: “Effective March 1, Delta, the second largest US airline by passenger traffic, said it will require passengers seeking to fly with pets to present additional documents outlining the passenger’s need for the animal and proof of its training and vaccinations, 48 hours prior to the flight.… This comes in response to what the carrier said was a 150 percent increase in service and support animals — pets, often dogs, that accompany people with disabilities — carried onboard since 2015.… Delta said that it flies some 700 service animals a day. Among them, customers have attempted to fly with comfort turkeys, gliding possums, snakes, spiders, and other unusual pets.”
    Fresh from an unsavory incident with an “emotional support” peacock incident, United Airlines has followed Delta’s lead and set stricter rules for emotional support animals. United’s rules also took effect March 1, 2018.
    So, to the relief of many bewildered passengers and crew, no more comfort turkeys, geese, possums or other questionable pets will be flying on Delta or United without meeting the airlines' strict new requirements for service and emotional support animals.
    Source:
    cnbc.com

    admin
    WHAT IS CELIAC DISEASE?
    Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition that affects around 1% of the population. People with celiac disease suffer an autoimmune reaction when they consume wheat, rye or barley. The immune reaction is triggered by certain proteins in the wheat, rye, or barley, and, left untreated, causes damage to the small, finger-like structures, called villi, that line the gut. The damage occurs as shortening and villous flattening in the lamina propria and crypt regions of the intestines. The damage to these villi then leads to numerous other issues that commonly plague people with untreated celiac disease, including poor nutritional uptake, fatigue, and myriad other problems.
    Celiac disease mostly affects people of Northern European descent, but recent studies show that it also affects large numbers of people in Italy, China, Iran, India, and numerous other places thought to have few or no cases.
    Celiac disease is most often uncovered because people experience symptoms that lead them to get tests for antibodies to gluten. If these tests are positive, then the people usually get biopsy confirmation of their celiac disease. Once they adopt a gluten-free diet, they usually see gut healing, and major improvements in their symptoms. 
    CLASSIC CELIAC DISEASE SYMPTOMS
    Symptoms of celiac disease can range from the classic features, such as diarrhea, upset stomach, bloating, gas, weight loss, and malnutrition, among others.
    LESS OBVIOUS SYMPTOMS
    Celiac disease can often less obvious symptoms, such fatigue, vitamin and nutrient deficiencies, anemia, to name a few. Often, these symptoms are regarded as less obvious because they are not gastrointestinal in nature. You got that right, it is not uncommon for people with celiac disease to have few or no gastrointestinal symptoms. That makes spotting and connecting these seemingly unrelated and unclear celiac symptoms so important.
    NO SYMPTOMS
    Currently, most people diagnosed with celiac disease do not show symptoms, but are diagnosed on the basis of referral for elevated risk factors. 

    CELIAC DISEASE VS. GLUTEN INTOLERANCE
    Gluten intolerance is a generic term for people who have some sort of sensitivity to gluten. These people may or may not have celiac disease. Researchers generally agree that there is a condition called non-celiac gluten sensitivity. That term has largely replaced the term gluten-intolerance. What’s the difference between celiac disease and non-celiac gluten-sensitivity? 
    CELIAC DISEASE VS. NON-CELIAC GLUTEN SENSITIVITY (NCGS)
    Gluten triggers symptoms and immune reactions in people with celiac disease. Gluten can also trigger symptoms in some people with NCGS, but the similarities largely end there.

    There are four main differences between celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity:
    No Hereditary Link in NCGS
    Researchers know for certain that genetic heredity plays a major role in celiac disease. If a first-degree relative has celiac disease, then you have a statistically higher risk of carrying genetic markers DQ2 and/or DQ8, and of developing celiac disease yourself. NCGS is not known to be hereditary. Some research has shown certain genetic associations, such as some NCGS patients, but there is no proof that NCGS is hereditary. No Connection with Celiac-related Disorders
    Unlike celiac disease, NCGS is so far not associated with malabsorption, nutritional deficiencies, or a higher risk of autoimmune disorders or intestinal malignancies. No Immunological or Serological Markers
    People with celiac disease nearly always test positive for antibodies to gluten proteins. Researchers have, as yet, identified no such antobodies or serologic markers for NCGS. That means that, unlike with celiac disease, there are no telltale screening tests that can point to NCGS. Absence of Celiac Disease or Wheat Allergy
    Doctors diagnose NCGS only by excluding both celiac disease, an IgE-mediated allergy to wheat, and by the noting ongoing adverse symptoms associated with gluten consumption. WHAT ABOUT IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME (IBS) AND IRRITABLE BOWEL DISEASE (IBD)?
    IBS and IBD are usually diagnosed in part by ruling out celiac disease. Many patients with irritable bowel syndrome are sensitive to gluten. Many experience celiac disease-like symptoms in reaction to wheat. However, patients with IBS generally show no gut damage, and do not test positive for antibodies to gliadin and other proteins as do people with celiac disease. Some IBS patients also suffer from NCGS.

    To add more confusion, many cases of IBS are, in fact, celiac disease in disguise.

    That said, people with IBS generally react to more than just wheat. People with NCGS generally react to wheat and not to other things, but that’s not always the case. Doctors generally try to rule out celiac disease before making a diagnosis of IBS or NCGS. 
    Crohn’s Disease and celiac disease share many common symptoms, though causes are different.  In Crohn’s disease, the immune system can cause disruption anywhere along the gastrointestinal tract, and a diagnosis of Crohn’s disease typically requires more diagnostic testing than does a celiac diagnosis.  
    Crohn’s treatment consists of changes to diet and possible surgery.  Up to 10% of Crohn's patients can have both of conditions, which suggests a genetic connection, and researchers continue to examine that connection.
    Is There a Connection Between Celiac Disease, Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity and Irritable Bowel Syndrome? Large Number of Irritable Bowel Syndrome Patients Sensitive To Gluten Some IBD Patients also Suffer from Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity Many Cases of IBS and Fibromyalgia Actually Celiac Disease in Disguise CELIAC DISEASE DIAGNOSIS
    Diagnosis of celiac disease can be difficult. 

    Perhaps because celiac disease presents clinically in such a variety of ways, proper diagnosis often takes years. A positive serological test for antibodies against tissue transglutaminase is considered a very strong diagnostic indicator, and a duodenal biopsy revealing villous atrophy is still considered by many to be the diagnostic gold standard. 
    But this idea is being questioned; some think the biopsy is unnecessary in the face of clear serological tests and obvious symptoms. Also, researchers are developing accurate and reliable ways to test for celiac disease even when patients are already avoiding wheat. In the past, patients needed to be consuming wheat to get an accurate test result. 
    Celiac disease can have numerous vague, or confusing symptoms that can make diagnosis difficult.  Celiac disease is commonly misdiagnosed by doctors. Read a Personal Story About Celiac Disease Diagnosis from the Founder of Celiac.com Currently, testing and biopsy still form the cornerstone of celiac diagnosis.
    TESTING
    There are several serologic (blood) tests available that screen for celiac disease antibodies, but the most commonly used is called a tTG-IgA test. If blood test results suggest celiac disease, your physician will recommend a biopsy of your small intestine to confirm the diagnosis.
    Testing is fairly simple and involves screening the patients blood for antigliadin (AGA) and endomysium antibodies (EmA), and/or doing a biopsy on the areas of the intestines mentioned above, which is still the standard for a formal diagnosis. Also, it is now possible to test people for celiac disease without making them concume wheat products.

    BIOPSY
    Until recently, biopsy confirmation of a positive gluten antibody test was the gold standard for celiac diagnosis. It still is, but things are changing fairly quickly. Children can now be accurately diagnosed for celiac disease without biopsy. Diagnosis based on level of TGA-IgA 10-fold or more the ULN, a positive result from the EMA tests in a second blood sample, and the presence of at least 1 symptom could avoid risks and costs of endoscopy for more than half the children with celiac disease worldwide.

    WHY A GLUTEN-FREE DIET?
    Currently the only effective, medically approved treatment for celiac disease is a strict gluten-free diet. Following a gluten-free diet relieves symptoms, promotes gut healing, and prevents nearly all celiac-related complications. 
    A gluten-free diet means avoiding all products that contain wheat, rye and barley, or any of their derivatives. This is a difficult task as there are many hidden sources of gluten found in the ingredients of many processed foods. Still, with effort, most people with celiac disease manage to make the transition. The vast majority of celiac disease patients who follow a gluten-free diet see symptom relief and experience gut healing within two years.
    For these reasons, a gluten-free diet remains the only effective, medically proven treatment for celiac disease.
    WHAT ABOUT ENZYMES, VACCINES, ETC.?
    There is currently no enzyme or vaccine that can replace a gluten-free diet for people with celiac disease.
    There are enzyme supplements currently available, such as AN-PEP, Latiglutetenase, GluteGuard, and KumaMax, which may help to mitigate accidental gluten ingestion by celiacs. KumaMax, has been shown to survive the stomach, and to break down gluten in the small intestine. Latiglutenase, formerly known as ALV003, is an enzyme therapy designed to be taken with meals. GluteGuard has been shown to significantly protect celiac patients from the serious symptoms they would normally experience after gluten ingestion. There are other enzymes, including those based on papaya enzymes.

    Additionally, there are many celiac disease drugs, enzymes, and therapies in various stages of development by pharmaceutical companies, including at least one vaccine that has received financial backing. At some point in the not too distant future there will likely be new treatments available for those who seek an alternative to a lifelong gluten-free diet. 

    For now though, there are no products on the market that can take the place of a gluten-free diet. Any enzyme or other treatment for celiac disease is intended to be used in conjunction with a gluten-free diet, not as a replacement.

    ASSOCIATED DISEASES
    The most common disorders associated with celiac disease are thyroid disease and Type 1 Diabetes, however, celiac disease is associated with many other conditions, including but not limited to the following autoimmune conditions:
    Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus: 2.4-16.4% Multiple Sclerosis (MS): 11% Hashimoto’s thyroiditis: 4-6% Autoimmune hepatitis: 6-15% Addison disease: 6% Arthritis: 1.5-7.5% Sjögren’s syndrome: 2-15% Idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy: 5.7% IgA Nephropathy (Berger’s Disease): 3.6% Other celiac co-morditities include:
    Crohn’s Disease; Inflammatory Bowel Disease Chronic Pancreatitis Down Syndrome Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Lupus Multiple Sclerosis Primary Biliary Cirrhosis Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis Psoriasis Rheumatoid Arthritis Scleroderma Turner Syndrome Ulcerative Colitis; Inflammatory Bowel Disease Williams Syndrome Cancers:
    Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (intestinal and extra-intestinal, T- and B-cell types) Small intestinal adenocarcinoma Esophageal carcinoma Papillary thyroid cancer Melanoma CELIAC DISEASE REFERENCES:
    Celiac Disease Center, Columbia University
    Gluten Intolerance Group
    National Institutes of Health
    U.S. National Library of Medicine
    Mayo Clinic
    University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 04/17/2018 - Could the holy grail of gluten-free food lie in special strains of wheat that lack “bad glutens” that trigger the celiac disease, but include the “good glutens” that make bread and other products chewy, spongey and delicious? Such products would include all of the good things about wheat, but none of the bad things that might trigger celiac disease.
    A team of researchers in Spain is creating strains of wheat that lack the “bad glutens” that trigger the autoimmune disorder celiac disease. The team, based at the Institute for Sustainable Agriculture in Cordoba, Spain, is making use of the new and highly effective CRISPR gene editing to eliminate the majority of the gliadins in wheat.
    Gliadins are the gluten proteins that trigger the majority of symptoms for people with celiac disease.
    As part of their efforts, the team has conducted a small study on 20 people with “gluten sensitivity.” That study showed that test subjects can tolerate bread made with this special wheat, says team member Francisco Barro. However, the team has yet to publish the results.
    Clearly, more comprehensive testing would be needed to determine if such a product is safely tolerated by people with celiac disease. Still, with these efforts, along with efforts to develop vaccines, enzymes, and other treatments making steady progress, we are living in exciting times for people with celiac disease.
    It is entirely conceivable that in the not-so-distant future we will see safe, viable treatments for celiac disease that do not require a strict gluten-free diet.
    Read more at Digitaltrends.com , and at Newscientist.com

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 04/16/2018 - A team of researchers recently set out to investigate whether alterations in the developing intestinal microbiota and immune markers precede celiac disease onset in infants with family risk for the disease.
    The research team included Marta Olivares, Alan W. Walker, Amalia Capilla, Alfonso Benítez-Páez, Francesc Palau, Julian Parkhill, Gemma Castillejo, and Yolanda Sanz. They are variously affiliated with the Microbial Ecology, Nutrition and Health Research Unit, Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology, National Research Council (IATA-CSIC), C/Catedrático Agustín Escardin, Paterna, Valencia, Spain; the Gut Health Group, The Rowett Institute, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK; the Genetics and Molecular Medicine Unit, Institute of Biomedicine of Valencia, National Research Council (IBV-CSIC), Valencia, Spain; the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, Cambridgeshire UK; the Hospital Universitari de Sant Joan de Reus, IISPV, URV, Tarragona, Spain; the Center for regenerative medicine, Boston university school of medicine, Boston, USA; and the Institut de Recerca Sant Joan de Déu and CIBERER, Hospital Sant Joan de Déu, Barcelona, Spain
    The team conducted a nested case-control study out as part of a larger prospective cohort study, which included healthy full-term newborns (> 200) with at least one first relative with biopsy-verified celiac disease. The present study includes 10 cases of celiac disease, along with 10 best-matched controls who did not develop the disease after 5-year follow-up.
    The team profiled fecal microbiota, as assessed by high-throughput 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing, along with immune parameters, at 4 and 6 months of age and related to celiac disease onset. The microbiota of infants who remained healthy showed an increase in bacterial diversity over time, especially by increases in microbiota from the Firmicutes families, those who with no increase in bacterial diversity developed celiac disease.
    Infants who subsequently developed celiac disease showed a significant reduction in sIgA levels over time, while those who remained healthy showed increases in TNF-α correlated to Bifidobacterium spp.
    Healthy children in the control group showed a greater relative abundance of Bifidobacterium longum, while children who developed celiac disease showed increased levels of Bifidobacterium breve and Enterococcus spp.
    The data from this study suggest that early changes in gut microbiota in infants with celiac disease risk could influence immune development, and thus increase risk levels for celiac disease. The team is calling for larger studies to confirm their hypothesis.
    Source:
    Microbiome. 2018; 6: 36. Published online 2018 Feb 20. doi: 10.1186/s40168-018-0415-6