Guinea pig transglutaminase immunolinked assay does not predict coeliac disease in patients with chronic liver disease

A. Carroccio, L. Giannitrapani, M. Soresi, T. Not, G. Iacono, C. Di Rosa, E. Panfili, A. Notarbartolo, G. Montalto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background - It has been suggested that serological screening for coeliac disease (CD) should be performed in patients with chronic unexplained hypertransaminasaemia. Aims - To evaluate the specificity for CD diagnosis of serum IgA antitissue transglutaminase (tTG) determination in consecutive patients with chronic hypertransaminasaemia using the most widely utilised ELISA based on tTG from guinea pig as the antigen. Patients and methods - We studied 98 patients with chronic hypertransaminasaemia, evaluated for the first time in a hepatology clinic. Serum anti-tTG and antiendomysial (EmA) assays were performed. Patients positive for EmA and/or anti-tTG were proposed for intestinal biopsy. Finally, all sera were reassayed for anti-tTG using an ELISA based on human recombinant tTG as the antigen. Results - A total of 94/98 hypertransaminasaemic patients were positive for hepatitis virus markers, with 82/98 (83%) positive for anti-hepatitis C virus. Liver histology showed that most patients had mild or moderate chronic hepatitis while severe fibrosis or overt liver cirrhosis was found in 20/98. CD screening showed that 15/98 (16%) hypertransaminasaemic subjects had anti-tTG values in the same range as CD patients; however, IgA EmA were positive in only 2/98 (2%). Distal duodenal biopsy, performed in nine patients, showed subtotal villous atrophy in the two EmA+/anti-tTG+ patients but was normal in 7/7 EmA-/anti-tTG+ subjects. The presence of anti-tTG+ values in EmA- patients was unrelated to particular gastrointestinal symptoms, other associated diseases, severity of liver histology, or distribution of viral hepatitis markers. There was a significantly higher frequency of positive serum autoantibodies (anti-nuclear, antimitochondrial, antismooth muscle, and anti-liver-kidney microsomal antibodies) in anti-tTG+/EmA- patients than in the other subjects (9/13 v 10/83; p

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)506-511
Number of pages6
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Antiendomysial antibodies
  • Antitissue transglutaminase antibodies
  • Autoimmunity
  • Coeliac disease
  • Intestinal histology
  • Liver disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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