How Accurate is Serology at Predicting Mucosal Healing in Pediatric Celiac Disease?

A recent study (Am J Gastroenterol doi: 10.1038/ajg.2014.200) shows that in children, unlike adults, that normalization of celiac disease (CD) serology correlates well with mucosal healing.

In this study, 150 children with biopsy-proven CD were prospectively evaluated with duodenal biopsies, tissue transglutaminase (tTG) IgA serology, and deamidated gliadin peptide (DPG) IgG serology.  After maintaining a gluten-free diet (GFD) for at least 1 year, participants underwent followup evaluation.

  • Of the 97 with normalization of their serology, 91 had normal biopsies (Marsh 0) and 6 had slight abnormalities (Marsh 1).
  • Of the 27 with positive serology, only 6 had Marsh 3 changes.
  • Overall, 124 (82.7%) had normalization of duodenal mucosal biopsies irregardless of serology.

Higher rates of mucosal healing are possible with longer duration of GFD.

On the other hand, a recent retrospective study (JPGN 2014; 59: 229-31) notes that among 40 children who underwent followup endoscopic evaluation (>4 months after GFD, median 24 months), most of whom were symptomatic, only 25 had complete healing. Though among those with adherence to a GFD, only five had persistent villous atrophy (Marsh 3 lesion) . Serological correlation was not provided.

Take-home message: Followup biopsies are not needed in children with normalization of their serology (tTG IgA and DGP IgG).  That is, serology correlates well with mucosal healing in children with celiac disease on a GFD >12 months. However, it is certainly reasonable to consider followup endoscopy in those who are symptomatic, especially if serology is abnormal.
In a related matter, the new requirements regarding gluten-free labeling have been implemented -here’s a link from the LA Times: Celiac Regulations or First federal glutenfree regulation takes effect

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Disclaimer: These blog posts are for educational purposes only. Specific dosing of medications (along with potential adverse effects) should be confirmed by prescribing physician.  This content is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a condition.

17 thoughts on “How Accurate is Serology at Predicting Mucosal Healing in Pediatric Celiac Disease?

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