IgA antibodies against tissue transglutaminase, endomysium and gliadin in idiopathic polyneuropathy
M. Vrethem, Department of Neurology, Linkping University Hospital, S-581 85 Linkping, Sweden
To study the prevalence of antibodies of IgA class against tissue transglutaminase (tTG), endomysium (EMA) and gliadin (AGA) in patients with chronic idiopathic axonal polyneuropathy (CIAP) and to characterize the patients clinically and neurophysiologically.
Of 182 patients, 126 patients agreed to blood sampling. Sera were analysed by ELISAs detecting anti-tTG and AGA, whereas EMA was analysed by indirect immunofluorescence (IF) microscopy. Gastrointestinal symptoms were assessed by data from medical records and patient interviews.
Nine of 126 patients (7%) were seropositive in at least one test (five with positive anti-tTG and/or EMA and four with positive AGA only). One patient with elevated levels of all specificities had laboratory signs of malabsorption and gastrointestinal complaints with abdominal pain and diarrhoea.
Elevated levels of IgA-AGA were slightly more frequent in patients with CIAP (4%) compared to 2.5% in 1866 healthy blood donors. Highly specific serological markers indicative of coeliac disease (CD) (anti-tTG and EMA) were somewhat more common in our patients with CIAP (4%) than expected from normal reference values and from studies of the prevalence of CD in the general population. Even though these findings may indicate a relationship, the aetiological importance is unclear.