Antibodies to gliadin in adult coeliac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis

U. Volta, F. Cassani, R. de Franchis, M. Lenzi, M. Primignani, D. Agape, M. Vecchi, F. B. Bianchi, E. Pisi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Antibodies to gliadin, searched for by indirect immunofluorescence and a micro-ELISA, were detected in 16 (64%) of 25 sera from patients with adult coeliac disease and in 13 (45%) of 29 with dermatitis herpetiformis. Although the sensitivity of the two tests was relatively low in the whole groups, it increased when only cases with severe jejunum abnormalities were considered (93% for coeliac disease and 81% for dermatitis herpetiformis). A significant correlation was found between antigliadin antibodies and the severity of jejunum damage in both diseases. Moreover, most coeliac and dermatitis herpetiformis patients with antigliadin antibodies were on normal diet. The specificity of the tests was 100% for the immunofluorescence and fairly good for the micro-ELISA, as only 5 (11%) of the 46 disease control patients (Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis) were positive for antigliadin antibodies. R1-reticulin antibody test was equally specific but less sensitive in both groups. We conclude that antigliadin antibodies are useful in the diagnosis of patients with active adult coeliac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis with gluten-sensitive enteropathy. Moreover, the two tests make it possible to monitor the compliance to gluten-free diet in both diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-270
Number of pages8
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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