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OBJECTIVE: European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN) guidelines on coeliac disease (CD) recommend that children who have IgA-based antitissue transglutaminase (TGA-IgA) titre ≥10× upper limit of normal (ULN) and positive antiendomysial antibody, can be reliably diagnosed with CD via the no-biopsy pathway. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between TGA-IgA ≥5×ULN and histologically confirmed diagnosis of CD. METHODS: Data including TGA-IgA levels at upper gastrointestinal endoscopy and histological findings from children diagnosed with CD following endoscopy from 2006 to 2021 were analysed. CD was confirmed by Marsh-Oberhuber histological grading 2 to 3 c. Statistical analysis was performed using χ² analysis (p<0.05= significant). RESULTS: 722 of 758 children had histological confirmation of CD. 457 children had TGA-IgA ≥5×ULN and 455 (99.5%) of these had histological confirmation for CD; the two that did not had eventual diagnosis of CD based on clinicopathological features. 114 of 457 had between TGA-IgA ≥5×ULN and <10×ULN, all had confirmed CD. The likelihood of a positive biopsy with TGA-IgA ≥5×ULN (455/457) compared with TGA-IgA <5×ULN (267/301) has strong statistical significance (p<0.00001). The optimal TGA-IgA cut-off from receiver operating characteristic curve analysis was determined to be below 5×ULN for the two assays used. CONCLUSION: 99.5% of children with TGA-IgA ≥5×ULN had histological confirmation of CD, suggesting that CD diagnosis can be made securely in children with TGA-IgA ≥5×ULN. If other studies confirm this finding, there is a case to be made to modify the ESPGHAN guidelines to a lower threshold of TGA-IgA for serological diagnosis of CD.

Original publication




Journal article


Arch Dis Child

Publication Date





747 - 751


gastroenterology, pathology, Autoantibodies, Biopsy, Celiac Disease, Child, Humans, Immunoglobulin A, Transglutaminases