We have compared serum antigliadin antibodies (AGA) with xylose absorption test in diagnosis and follow-up of pediatric celiac disease. Three groups of children were investigated: celiacs, affected by other gastrointestinal disease, healthy controls. On gluten diet AGA IgA, IgG and xylose test were abnormal in all celiac children. After only three months of gluten-free diet, abnormal AGA IgA values were found in 3%, AGA IgG in 63%, xylose test in 28% of children. Normal values for AGA IgA and IgG and for xylose test were found between 7 and 20 months. On challenge, after 1-4 months of gluten diet, abnormal AGA IgA and IgG values were found in 90% of cases, xylose test only in 27%. As far as the children with other gastrointestinal disease are concerned, 2% had abnormal values for AGA IgA, 22% for AGA IgG and 42% for xylose test. All healthy children had normal AGA IgA, IgG values and xylose test. Our date show AGA IgA the most specific laboratory test, among these investigated, for diagnosis and follow-up of celiac disease.