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Keywords:

  • anti-endomysium;
  • coeliac disease;
  • follow-up;
  • gluten-free diet;
  • nuclear fluorescence reactivity

Summary

We have identified previously a nuclear fluorescence reactivity (NFR) pattern on monkey oesophagus sections exposed to coeliac disease (CD) patients' sera positive for anti-endomysium antibodies (EMA). The aim of the present work was to characterize the NFR, study the time–course of NFR-positive results in relation to gluten withdrawal and evaluate the potential role of NFR in the follow-up of CD. Twenty untreated, 87 treated CD patients and 15 healthy controls were recruited and followed for 12 months. Their sera were incubated on monkey oesophagus sections to evaluate the presence of NFR by indirect immunofluorescence analysis. Duodenal mucosa samples from treated CD patients were challenged with gliadin peptides, and thus the occurrence of NFR in culture supernatants was assessed. The NFR immunoglobulins (Igs) reactivity with the nuclear extract of a human intestinal cell line was investigated. Serum NFR was present in all untreated CD patients, persisted up to 151 ± 37 days from gluten withdrawal and reappeared in treated CD patients under dietary transgressions. Serum NFR was also detected in two healthy controls. In culture supernatants of coeliac intestinal mucosa challenged with gliadin peptides, NFR appeared before EMA. The Igs responsible for NFR were identified as belonging to the IgA2 subclass. The NFR resulted differently from EMA and anti-nuclear antibodies, but reacted with two nuclear antigens of 65 and 49 kDa. A new autoantibody, named NFR related to CD, was described. Furthermore, NFR detection might become a valuable tool in monitoring adherence to a gluten-free diet and identifying slight dietary transgressions.