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A Journal on Pediatrics, Neonatology, Adolescent Medicine,
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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Minerva Pediatrica 2010 April;62(2):119-23

language: Italian

Increasing prevalence of celiac children with negative serum antigliadin antibodies

Caristo E., Tognato E., Di Dio G., Rapa A., Fonio P.

1 Clinica Pediatrica, Università del Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italia;
2 Laboratorio di Microbiologia, Azienda Ospedaliera Maggiore della Carità, Novara, Italia


AIM: In the last few years we noted an increasing number of children with celiac disease with negative serum anti-gliadin antibodies (AGA) a useful serologic test to monitor compliance to gluten-free diet. The aim of this study was to verify diagnostic accuracy of AGA and compare clinical characteristics of AGA-negative with AGA-positive celiac children.
METHODS: The authors analyzed serum of AGA-negative celiac children with 3 Elisa kits, and compared clinical and anthropometric data of AGA-negative with AGA-positive celiac children. Celiac disease was diagnosed with small bowel biopsy, and total IgA were determined. Children with IgA-deficiency were excluded.
RESULTS: When retested with two other commercial kits, serum values of AGA-negative children were confirmed in all but one. In the last 14 years a diagnosis of celiac disease was performed in 166 children, in 56 of them (33.7%) antigliadin antibodies were negative. Preva-lence of AGA-negative celiac children increased significantly in the last years (from 23% before 2002 to 39.8% after 2002, P=0.04). AGA-negative children were significantly older (7.8 years vs. 3.7 years, P=0.0007) they complained more frequently of abdominal pain (55%, vs. 25,4% P=0.04) and less frequently of anaemia (8% vs. 24.5% P=0.012) and were less likely to have a classical celiac triad (5.3 vs. 22%, P=0.004) than AGA-positive children.
CONCLUSION: Serum AGA seem no longer useful for monitoring compliance to gluten-free diet. In children where AGA are negative at diagnosis, when the child eats a normal amount of gluten, they are going to remain negative even after poor compliance.

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