Seronegative autoimmune atrophic gastritis is more common in elderly patients

Laura Conti, Marco Vincenzo Lenti, Antonio Di Sabatino, Emanuela Miceli, Gloria Galli, Maria Cazzato, Francesca Falangone, Bruno Annibale, Edith Lahner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Autoimmune atrophic gastritis (AAG) diagnosis is based on specific histological findings and anti-parietal cell antibodies (PCA) considered the serological hallmark of AAG, although a subgroup of AAG patients may be seronegative. Objectives: To assess the occurrence and clinical features of seronegative compared to seropositive AAG. Methods: This is a cross-sectional study including 516 consecutive adult patients (age 59.6 ± 12.8 years, F:M = 2.2:1) with histologically proven AAG diagnosed in two Italian academic referral centers over the last 10 years. PCA were detected at AAG diagnosis. Variables related to the dependent variable of interest (i.e.PCA-negativity) were assessed by univariate/logistic regression analysis. Results: 109/516 AAG patients were seronegative. The mean age of seronegative AAG patients was significantly higher compared to PCA-positive (65.9 ± 14.1vs57.9 ± 15.1 years; p<0.0001). The proportion of patients aged 70–79 and ≥80 years were, respectively, lower for PCA-positivity (5.1vs12.8%;21.3vs38.5%;p<0.005). Seronegativity was associated with age ≥50 years (OR2.4;95%CI 1.1–5.2), while for other variables (gender, comorbidities, anemia, atrophy severity) no association was found. In a sub-cohort of 101 AAG patients, PCA levels detected by ELISA were inversely correlated with age at AAG diagnosis (rho=-0.250;p = 0.0118). Conclusion: Roughly 20% of patients are seronegative at the time of AAG histological diagnosis and this is more common in elderly individuals.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDigestive and Liver Disease
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020


  • Anti-parietal cell antibodies
  • Autoimmune atrophic gastritis
  • Gastric autoimmunity
  • Pernicious anemia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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