Community-Based Study of Celiac Disease Autoimmunity Progression in Adults
Journal article, 2020

Background & Aims: Celiac disease can develop at any age, but outcomes of adults with positive results from serologic tests for tissue transglutaminase antibodies (tTGA) without endoscopic determination of celiac disease (called celiac autoimmunity) have not been thoroughly evaluated. We investigated the proportion of adults with celiac autoimmunity at a community medical center and their progression to celiac disease. Methods: We analyzed waste blood samples from a community clinic from 15,551 adults for tTGA and, if titer results were above 2 U/mL, for endomysial antibody. The blood samples had been collected at 2 time points (median interval, 8.8 years) from 2006 through 2017. We collected data from the clinic on diagnoses of celiac disease based on duodenal biopsy analysis. Results: Of the serum samples collected at the first time point, 15,398 had negative results for tTGA, and 153 had positive results for tTGA (>4 U/mL). Based on medical records, 6 individuals received a diagnosis of celiac disease, for a cumulative incidence of celiac disease diagnosis of 0.06% (95% confidence interval, 0.01–0.11). Forty-nine (0.32%) individuals with a negative result from the first serologic test for tTGA had a positive result from the second test. Among the 153 adults who were tTGA positive at the first time point, 31 (20%) had a subsequent diagnosis of celiac disease, 81 (53%) remained positive for tTGA without a clinical diagnosis of celiac disease, and 41 (27%) had negative test results for tTGA at the second time point. Higher initial tTGA titers, female sex, and a history of hypothyroidism and autoimmune disease were associated with increased risks of subsequent diagnosis of celiac disease. Interestingly, adults whose first blood sample had a positive test result but second blood sample had a negative result for tTGA were older, had lower-than-average initial tTGA titer results, and had a higher mean body mass index than adults whose blood samples were positive for tTGA at both time points and adults later diagnosed with celiac disease. Conclusions: In an analysis of serum samples collected from a community clinic an average of 8.8 years apart, we found that fewer than 1% of adults with negative results from an initial test for tTGA have a positive result on a second test. Of adults with positive results from the test for tTGA, only 20% are later diagnosed with celiac disease; the remaining individuals maintain persistent increases in tTGA without diagnoses of celiac disease or have negative results from second tests.

Preclinical Phase

De Novo Disease




Rok Seon Choung

Mayo Clinic

Shahryar Khaleghi

Mayo Clinic

Amanda K. Cartee

Mayo Clinic

E. V. Marietta

Mayo Clinic

Joseph J. Larson

Mayo Clinic

Katherine S. King

Mayo Clinic

Otto Savolainen

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Food and Nutrition Science

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Systems and Synthetic Biology

Alastair Ross

AgResearch Lincoln

S. Vincent Rajkumar

Mayo Clinic

Michael J. Camilleri

Mayo Clinic

Alberto Rubio-Tapia

Mayo Clinic

J. A. Murray

Mayo Clinic


0016-5085 (ISSN) 1528-0012 (eISSN)

Vol. 158 1 151-159

Subject Categories


Clinical Laboratory Medicine

Gastroenterology and Hepatology





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