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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   04/24/2018

      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 is Celiac Disease and the Gluten-Free Diet? 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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    ONE CASE I KNOW OF HAD ELEVATED GLIADINS (BOTH TYPES) BUT NORMAL EMA AND ARA, PLUS AN INCONCLUSIVE BIOPSY. DO YOU SEE THIS OFTEN?**


    admin

    Vijay Kumar, M.D., Research Associate Professor at the University of Buffalo and President and Director of IMMCO Diagnostics: If the tests are performed using well standardized tests with known positive and negative predictive values then you can make the statement that if the serological tests are negative celiac disease can virtually be ruled out. The problem is that some of these assays, especially the gliadin, can give you false positive results. In our laboratory we rarely see positive AGA results in the absence of EMA and ARA antibodies.


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    admin
    Vijay Kumar, M.D., Research Associate Professor at the University of Buffalo and President and Director of IMMCO Diagnostics: The three serological tests that are used for diagnosing celiac disease are:
    Anti-endomysial antibody (EMA) Anti-reticulin antibody (ARA) Anti-gliadin antibody (AGA) Each of these three tests provide a certain degree of reliability for diagnosing celiac disease. Of these, endomysial antibody is the most specific test. The following table is taken from our studies (Lerner, Kumar, Iancu, Immunological diagnosis of childhood coeliac disease: comparison between antigliadin, antireticulin and antiendomysial antibodies).
      % of Sensitivity % of Specificity Predictive Value % Pos Predictive Value % Neg EMA 97% 98% 97% 98% ARA 65% 100% 100% 72% IgG AGA 88% 92% 88% 92% IgA AGA 52% 94% 87% 74%  
    The following definitions related to sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values may help:
    Sensitivity is the probability of a positive test result in a patient with disease. Specificity is the probability of negative test result in a patient without disease. Positive predictive value is the probability of disease in a patient with positive test result. Negative predictive value is the probability of no disease in a patient with negative test result.
    Karoly Horvath, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Pediatrics; Director, Peds GI & Nutrition Laboratory; University of Maryland at Baltimore: The summary below shows the results of the main serological tests based on several publications including 388 patients with celiac disease, and 771 healthy subjects.
     
    SENSITIVITY- the proportion of subjects with the disease who have a positive test. It indicates how good a test is at identifying the diseased:
      Percentage of - IgA AGA Percentage of - IgG AGA Percentage of - IgA EMA Average 78% 79% 97% Range 46-100% 57-94% 89-100%


    SPECIFICITY- the proportion of subjects without the disease who have a negative test. It indicates how good a test is at identifying the non-diseased:
      Percentage of - IgA AGA Percentage of - IgG AGA Percentage of - IgA EMA Average 92% 84% 98.5% Range 84-100% 52-98% 97-100%


    POSITIVE PREDICTIVE VALUE- the probability that a person with positive results actually has the disease:
      Percentage of - IgA AGA Percentage of - IgG AGA Percentage of - IgA EMA Average 72% 57% 92% Range 45-100% 42-76% 91-94%


    NEGATIVE PREDICTIVE VALUE- the probability that a person with negative results does not have the disease:
      Percentage of - IgA AGA Percentage of - IgG AGA Percentage of - IgA EMA Average 94% 94% 100% Range 89-100% 83-99% 100%


    References:
    McMillan SA, Haughton DJ, Biggart JD, Edgar JD, Porter KG, McNeill TA. Predictive value for coeliac disease of antibodies to gliadin, endomysium, and jejunum in patients attending for jejunal biopsy. Brit Med J 1991;303:1163-1165
    Ferreira M, Lloyd Davies S, Butler M, Scott D, Clark M, Kumar P. Endomysial antibody: is it the best screening test for coeliac disease? Gut 1992;33:1633-1637.
    Khoshoo V, Bhan MK, Puri S, Jain R, Jayashree S, Bhatnagar S, Kumar R, Stintzing G. Serum antigliadin antibody profile in childhood protracted diarrhea due to coeliac disease and other causes in a developing country. Scand J Gastroenterol 1989;24:1212-1216.
    Chan KN, Phillips AD, Mirakian R, Walker-Smith JA. Endomysial antibody screening in children. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 1994;18:316-320.
    Bode S, Weile B, Krasilnikoff PA, Gdmand-Hyer E. The diagnostic value of the gliadin antibody testing celiac disease in children: a prospective study. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 1993;17:260-264.
    Calabuig M, Torregosa R, Polo P, Tom s C, Alvarez V, Garcia-Vila A, Brines J, Vilar P, Farr C, Varea V. Serological markers and celiac disease: a new diagnostic approach ? J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 1990;10:435-442.

    admin
    Vijay Kumar, M.D., Research Associate Professor at the University of Buffalo and President and Director of IMMCO Diagnostics: Absolutely yes. For the test to provide meaningful results, it must be validated using a large number of clinical documented subjects. In addition, the two tests, endomysial and reticulin are immunofluorescent tests where the readings are subjective. Experienced laboratory personnel are needed to read such tests.
    Karoly Horvath, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Pediatrics; Director, Peds GI Nutrition Laboratory; University of Maryland at Baltimore: There are several advantages to use a laboratory experienced with the celiac serological tests:
    Technically, the test are more reliable, and the internal and external control of tests are better established than in laboratories where the celiac disease serology panel is only one of the routine tests More importantly, laboratories specialized in celiac serological testing have larger numbers of positive and negative samples to validate their tests and they are able to set up more accurately the negative, intermediate and pathologic values A laboratory specialized in these tests generally has a clinical background, and the physicians with experience in celiac disease may help in the interpretation of the results and they are happy to consult with other physicians and they can answer the questions of patients.

    admin
    For 100 units of whole grain wheat, about 70 units of white flour results from the milling process. The rest is separately sold as wheat bran or wheat germ. Those 70 units of flour are about 10%- 15% protein, thus about 7 to 10 units of protein for 100 units of whole wheat. The protein is about 80% gluten, thus about 6 to 8 units of gluten for 100 units of whole wheat. Since one typically sees wheat flour as an ingredient, applying the 70% factor implies 8 to 12 units of gluten per 100 units of wheat flour.

    admin

    There are two classes of antibodies seen in untreated celiac disease. Antibodies directed against a fragment of gluten called gliadin, and antibodies directed against a particular tissue in the body itself. The two main areas in the body which can be attacked by its own antibodies are the aendomysial (the covering of muscle), and the reticulin ( the framework for kidney and liver), but there are others.
    To conduct the test, 5ccs of blood is drawn from the patient, and the blood cells are removed. The gliadin test is usually an automated machine-read test, which means there is little room for interpretor error. However, currently in the USA there is no standard methods for conducting the test, or normal ranges for the results. The endomysial tests are more dependent on the experience and ability of a pathologist who looks at a pattern of staining produced by the patients serum on a slice of monkey esophagus. While this test is done in similar way in most labs, there are many differences in how the results are interpreted.
    How good are these tests?
    If all of the blood test results are positive a celiac disease diagnosis is 90% accurate. However, there are several circumstances in which the tests can be inaccurate. IGA and IGG are two different varieties of antibodies which are produced by most peoples immune systems. There is a different blood test for each of the antibodies. Of the two tests, the IGA gliadin and IGA endomysial tests are the most accurate. However, this test can become negative relatively quickly after going on a gluten-free diet (3-6 months), which can cause a false negative test result. The IGG is less specific, and can sometimes be positive in non-celiacs. Also, about 4% of celiacs have no IgA at all! For these reasons it is very important that both tests are done for an accurate diagnosis. The biopsy is still considered the "standard candle" to confirm a blood diagnosis, and give a 100% sure diagnosis.
    For all tests for celiac disease it is necessary that one is on a gluten-containing diet, or false-negative test results could be given. Blood tests may also be useful in following up a known celiac and confirm that the diet is indeed free of large amounts of gluten. Also, because of the lack of standardization, keep in mind that blood test results may not be directly comparable from one lab to the next.

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