IgA antiendomysium antibodies in human umbilical cord sections as a screening test in relatives of patients with celiac disease.Allergy 1997; 52(10):1017-21A
We performed the serum IgA antiendomysium antibody (EmA) assay by indirect immunofluorescence on human umbilical cord sections in 86 subjects with celiac disease, in 187 first-degree relatives of such patients, and in a control group of 68 unrelated subjects, to investigate the suitability of the method in the screening of populations at risk of gluten sensitivity. Conventional EmA assay using monkey esophagus sections was performed in parallel experiments. The results obtained showed a perfect correlation between the two methods. All the celiac patients and none of the controls were positive for EmA. EmA positivity was also observed in 11 apparently healthy relatives: intestinal biopsy performed in five of them invariably showed villous atrophy and increase of mucosal lymphocytes. Taking into account the low cost of EmA assay on human umbilical cord, especially when compared to monkey esophagus sections, the method is probably suitable and effective in identifying latent, asymptomatic gluten sensitivity in at-risk populations.