Clinical value of tissue transglutaminase antibodies in celiac patients over a long term follow-up

Elisa Farina, Leda Roncoroni, Vincenza Lombardo, Alice Scricciolo, Maurizio Vecchi, Luisa Doneda, Luca Elli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction & Aim: Anti-tissue transglutaminase antibody (tTGA) titer is used during the follow-up of celiac patients to evaluate gluten-free diet (GFD) responsiveness. However, no clear data are available on this issue. The aim of this study was to evaluate tTGA significance during celiac disease (CD) monitoring. Methods: From January 2017 to January 2020, consecutive CD patients on a GFD with persistent positive tTGA were enrolled. Antibody titres were evaluated on a yearly basis from CD diagnosis to the last follow-up. Urinary gluten detection tests, duodenal histology and capsule enteroscopy (CE) were performed. A tTGA-positive cohort was compared with a control group composed of 212 treated CD patients with negative tTGA. Results: 65 patients (12% males, median age at enrollment and CD diagnosis, 37 (14–86) and 31 (1–76), respectively, median follow up 4 (1–26) years) presented with positive tTGA during follow-up. Overall, the tTGA titres were 3 (1–79) fold increased (ULN). Three different tTGA trends were recognized: (I) 36 (55%) patients with a progressive titresdecrease; (II) 16 (25%) patients with a fluctuating behavior; (III) 13 (20%) patients with a steady state or increased titres. tTGA+ patients did not present with different clinical and demographic parameters. Duodenal atrophy was present in 10% vs 36% of the tTGA positive vs negative group (p < 0.005), respectively. Gluten detection results were positive in 3 (8%) cases, all in the III group. In tTGA+ patients, CE did not identify any CD-related complications. Conclusions: tTGA positivity during CD follow up did not present a relevant clinical significance without association with autoimmune comorbidities and mucosal damage.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3057
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021


  • Anti-tissue transglutaminase
  • Celiac disease
  • Urinary gluten detect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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