The identification of celiac disease in asymptomatic children: the Generation R Study

Michelle A E Jansen, Menno van Zelm, Michael Groeneweg, Vincent W V Jaddoe, Willem A. Dik, Marco W J Schreurs, Herbert Hooijkaas, Henriette Moll, Johanna C. Escher

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28 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The objective of our study was to assess whether TG2A levels in the healthy childhood population can be predictive of subclinical CD. Methods: A total of 4442 children (median age, 6.0 years) participating in a population-based prospective cohort study were screened on serum TG2A. Those with positive TG2A (≥7 U/ml; n = 60, 1.4%) were invited for clinical evaluation (median age, 9.0 years). Medical history, physical examination, serum TG2A, and IgA-endomysium (EMA) were assessed, as well as HLA DQ 2.2/2.5/8 typing. Patients with positive serologies and genetic risk types underwent duodenal biopsies. TG2A levels at the time of biopsy were compared with the degree of enteropathy. Results: Fifty-one TG2A-positive children were included in the follow-up: 31 (60.8%) children had CD, ten (19.6%) did not have CD, and ten (19.6%) were considered potential CD cases because of inconclusive serologies. Duodenal biopsies were performed in 26/31 children. CD with Marsh 3a/b enteropathy was observed in 75% (15/20) of children having TG2A levels ≥10ULN at 6 years of age, as well as in 75% (6/8) of children having a positive TG2A <10 ULN (OR 1.00; 95% CI 0.15–6.64). CD cases had a lower BMI SDS (mean −0.49, SD 0.92) than children without CD (mean 0.47, SD 1.37; p = 0.02). No differences were observed in gastrointestinal symptoms. Conclusions: Serum TG2A screening at 6 years of age in the healthy childhood population has a positive predictive value of 61% to detect subclinical CD. We did not find a positive correlation between serum TG2A levels and the degree of enteropathy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)377-386
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Gastroenterology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018


  • Celiac disease
  • Child
  • Cohort study
  • Screening
  • Tissue transglutaminase type 2 antibodies

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