Adult population screening for coeliac disease: comparison of tissue-transglutaminase antibody and anti-endomysial antibody tests.Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol 2006; 18(11):1173-5EJ
Serological screening tests for coeliac disease have significantly advanced the diagnosis of this condition. The very high specificity (almost 100%) of anti-endomysial antibody detection has been repeatedly confirmed, whereas a lower specificity (90-95%) is found with anti-tissue transglutaminase antibody assays. In the study by Malekzadeh and colleagues, a group of study participants were identified with raised anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies, but the endomysial antibody test was negative in 86%. Although many of these participants were found to have raised intra-epithelial lymphocytes in their small intestinal mucosa, there is currently insufficient evidence to confidently diagnose gluten-sensitive disease in these patients. Hence, their report that a minimum prevalence of 1:104 of gluten sensitivity is found in the general population of Iran is likely to be an over-estimate and requires confirmation.