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Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (CCLM)

Published in Association with the European Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (EFLM)

Editor-in-Chief: Plebani, Mario

Editorial Board Member: Gillery, Philippe / Kazmierczak, Steven / Lackner, Karl J. / Lippi, Giuseppe / Melichar, Bohuslav / Schlattmann, Peter / Whitfield, John B.

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Anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies in inflammatory bowel disease: new evidence

Marco Di Tola1 / Luigi Sabbatella2 / Maria Cristina Anania3 / Angelo Viscido4 / Renzo Caprilli5 / Roberta Pica6 / Paolo Paoluzi7 / Antonio Picarelli8









Citation Information: Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine. Volume 42, Issue 10, Pages 1092–1097, ISSN (Print) 1434-6621, DOI: 10.1515/CCLM.2004.225, June 2005

Publication History

May 24, 2004
August 27, 2004
Published Online:


Anti-tissue transglutaminase, previously held to be identical to anti-endomysial antibodies in celiac sprue, has been reported in inflammatory bowel disease patients. To investigate these data further, we evaluated serum and intestinal anti-tissue transglutaminase in inflammatory bowel disease patients, with respect to the Crohn’s disease activity index and the integrated disease activity index. Study population comprised: 49 patients with Crohn’s disease and 29 patients with ulcerative colitis; 45 patients with celiac sprue and 85 autoimmune patients as disease controls; and 58 volunteers as healthy controls. Immunoglobulin A (IgA) anti-recombinant human tissue transglutaminase and anti-endomysial antibody detection in sera and fecal supernatants were performed. Adsorption of positive sera with recombinant human tissue transglutaminase were also performed. Marked increased anti-tissue transglutaminase concentrations were found in celiac sprue, while low-positive values were also found in Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Anti-endomysial antibodies were detectable only in celiac sprue. Antigen adsorption resulted in a significant reduction of the anti-tissue transglutaminase either in celiac sprue or inflammatory bowel disease sera. A significant correlation between anti-tissue transglutaminase and Crohn’s disease activity index or integrated disease activity index scores was found. Anti-tissue transglutaminase was also detectable in fecal supernatants from inflammatory bowel disease patients. 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.

Keywords: anti-endomysial; celiac sprue; Crohn’s disease; transglutaminase; ulcerative colitis


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