Transglutaminase and Celiac Disease - Anti-transglutaminase antibodies

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Together with anti-endomysium antibodies (EMA), tTg represent the most specific serological marker for the diagnosis of celiac disease.
Anti-transglutaminase antibodies are directed against a tissue protein (called transglutaminase antigen), located in the mucosa of the small intestine; this protein interacts with gliadin, playing a fundamental role in the pathogenesis of celiac disease.

CELIAC is an autoimmune disease triggered, in genetically predisposed people, by the ingestion of gluten (protein contained in wheat and other cereals). This results in malabsorption and morphological alterations of the intestinal mucosa (atrophy of the villi, hypertrophy of the crypts, thinning intestinal wall and mucosal infiltration by inflammatory cells).

In the organism affected by celiac disease there is also an altered response of the immune system, which determines the formation of auto-antibodies against gluten (called anti-gliadin antibodies) and against the intestinal mucosa (EMA or tTG).
Celiac disease therapy is a gluten-free diet. Failure to adhere to this diet is the main cause of persistent or recurring symptoms.

involved in particularly important biological reactions. With their intervention, in fact, they catalyze the formation of covalent bonds between a free amino group (for example of proteins or peptides that have lysine residues) and the γ-carboxyamide group of proteins that have glutamine residues. The bonds thus formed exhibit a strong resistance to proteolytic degradation and become important in many physiological and pathological processes, such as hemostasis (arrest of bleeding), wound healing, apoptosis (programmed cell death), skin formation, tumor growth and others.
Currently, the existence of at least 8 different types of transglutaminases (TGs) has been recognized:

  • plasma transglutaminase (coagulation factor XII);
  • tissue translutaminase (liver, erythrocytes or endothelium);
  • keratinocytic transglutaminase;
  • epidermal transglutaminase;
  • prostatic transglutaminase;
  • transglutaminase X and others.
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