Antiendomysial antibody detection in biopsy culture allows avoidance of gluten challenge in celiac children

Margherita Bonamico, Luigi Sabbatella, Marco Di Tola, Stefania Vetrano, Mirella Ferri, Raffaella Nenna, Paolo Mariani, Antonio Picarelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Antiendomysial antibody (EMA) production has been induced in vitro by the small bowel mucosa of celiac disease (CD) patients in clinical remission cultured in the presence of gliadin peptides. The aim of the present study was to use this in vitro system to determine whether it could be used to predict the clinical or histologic relapse to gluten challenge in CD children on a gluten-free diet (GFD). Methods: Enrolled were 32 CD children and adolescents on GFD (group 1), and 80 controls (group 2) who underwent in vitro gliadin challenge. Subsequently, 24 group 1 CD children underwent in vivo gluten challenge to confirm the diagnosis. Biopsy cultures, with and without gliadin, morphometric analysis, immunoglobulin (Ig)A and IgG1 EMA detection, both in sera and culture supernatants, were performed. Results: Of the 32 group 1 CD patients, 23 were IgA EMA positive in culture supernatants. The other nine were IgG1 EMA positive. All 24 children who had in vivo gluten challenge showed clinical or histologic relapse. All culture supernatants from disease controls belonging to group 2 were both IgA and IgG1 EMA negative, irrespective of gliadin challenge. Conclusions: Organ culture with in vitro gliadin challenge is able to reproduce the results of in vivo challenge. This system could reduce the need for gluten challenge in celiac children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-169
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2005


  • Celiac disease
  • Gliadin challenge
  • Organ culture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology
  • Histology
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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