Enterocyte actin autoantibody detection: A new diagnostic tool in celiac disease diagnosis: Results of a multicenter study

M. G. Clemente, M. P. Musu, R. Troncone, U. Volta, M. Congia, C. Ciacci, E. Neri, T. Not, G. Maggiore, P. Strisciuglio, G. R. Corazza, G. Gasbarrini, L. Cicotto, G. Sole, A. Fasano, Stefano De Virgiliis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVES: This study describes a new method to detect autoantibodies against actin filaments (AAA) as a serological marker of intestinal villous atrophy (IVA) in celiac disease (CD), and reports the results of an Italian double-blind multicenter study. METHODS: IgA-AAA were analyzed by immunofluorescence using a newly developed method based on intestinal epithelial cells cultured in presence of colchicine. IgA-AAA were blindly evaluated prospectively in 223 antiendomysial antibody (AEA) and/or antitransglutaminase antibody (TGA) positive subjects and in 78 AEA and TGA negative subjects. IgA-AAA positive patients underwent an intestinal biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. Moreover, IgA-AAA were retrospectively investigated in 84 biopsy-proven CD patients and in 2,000 new consecutively collected serum samples from AEA and TGA negative nonbiopsied subjects. RESULTS: IgA-AAA were positive in 98.2% of the CD patients with flat mucosa, in 89% with subtotal villous atrophy, and in 30% with partial villous atrophy. IgA-AAA were present in none of the AEA and TGA negative nonbiopsied controls. In AEA and/or TGA positive CD patients IgA-AAA positivity significantly correlated with IVA (p <0.000 in the prospective study, p = 0.005 in the retrospective study). In the prospective study, the values of sensitivity, specificity, the positive predictive value, the negative predictive value, and the efficiency of the IgA-AAA test to identify patients with IVA were, respectively, 83.9%, 95.1%, 97.8%, 69.2%, and 87.0%. Furthermore, a significant correlation (p <0.0001) was found between the IgA-AAA serum titre and the degree of IVA (rs 0.56). CONCLUSIONS: The results of this multicenter study show that the new method for IgA-AAA detection could represent a practical diagnostic tool in AEA and/or TGA positive subjects, which would be especially useful when IVA shows a patchy distribution, when the histological picture is difficult to interpret, or when a biopsy could represent a life-threatening risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1551-1556
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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