Looking for celiac disease: Diagnostic accuracy of two rapid commercial assays

Gregor Nemec, Alessandro Ventura, Martelossi Stefano, Grazia Di Leo, Valentina Baldas, Alberto Tommasini, Fortunato Ferrara, Andrea Taddio, Angelo Città, Daniele Sblattero, Roberto Marzari, Tarcisio Not

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Early diagnosis and treatment with gluten-free diet reduces mortality and the prevalence of associated disorders in celiac disease (CD). A simple "in the office" test of anti-transglutaminase antibodies might be of great help in first-line screening for CD. AIMS: We evaluated the sensitivity and specificity of two commercial kits based, respectively, on rapid detection of IgA-IgG anti-human-transglutaminase antibodies (anti-h-tTG) in serum and IgA anti-h-tTG antibody in one drop of whole blood. These assays were compared to a well-established enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay technique. METHODS: Serum samples were analyzed from 114 biopsy-confirmed celiacs, 120 healthy controls, 20 first-degree relatives of celiacs, and 75 diseased controls. The whole blood samples were analyzed from 51 biopsy-confirmed celiacs and 100 controls. RESULTS: The serum-based test was positive in all 114 celiacs (sensitivity 100%). Among the controls there were seven healthy blood donors, one first-degree relative, and three diseased controls who tested positive (specificity 94.9%). The blood drop-based assay testing IgA antibodies was positive in 46 of 51 (sensitivity 90.2%), and since three of the five patients testing negative had total IgA deficiency, the sensitivity value can be increased to 95.8%. All 100 controls tested negative (specificity 100%). CONCLUSIONS: The commercial kits described here produce high values of sensitivity and specificity, offering the general practitioner who suspects a possible case of CD the real possibility to look for anti-h-tTG antibodies in his own medical office during a standard visit at a satisfyingly low cost.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1597-1600
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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