Antibodies to tissue transglutaminase as serologic markers in patients with dermatitis herpetiformis

Walburga Dieterich, Eberhardt Laag, Leena Bruckner-Tuderman, Timo Reunala, Sarolta Kárpáti, Tamás Zágoni, Ernst Otto Riecken, Detlef Schuppan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

169 Citations (Scopus)


Dermatitis herpetiformis is a gluten-sensitive disease with a symmetrically distributed blistering over extensor surfaces. The association with celiac disease is further supported by the high rate of immunoglobulin A autoantibodies to endomysium in patients with dermatitis herpetiformis, which are highly specific and sensitive indicators of celiac disease. Therefore, we determined immunoglobulin A antibodies to tissue transglutaminase, the recently discovered endomysial autoantigen in celiac disease, in patients with dermatitis herpetiformis and controls. Sera of 61 patients with dermatitis herpetiformis, as characterized by granular immunoglobulin A deposits in the subepidermal basement membrane and known endomysial antibody titers (determined by indirect immunofluorescence) as well as 84 control sera of patients with dermal or intestinal diseases unrelated to dermatitis herpetiformis, were analyzed for circulating immunoglobulin A antibodies to tissue transglutaminase by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Immunoglobulin A anti-tissue transglutaminase titers in patients with dermatitis herpetiformis were significantly elevated above the controls. Furthermore, the immunoglobulin A anti-tTG titers showed a positive correlation with semiquantitative endomysial antibody data. Compared with endomysial antibodies, determination of immunoglobulin A anti-tissue transglutaminase reached a specificity and sensitivity of 97.6% and 89.1%. Patients with dermatitis herpetiformis have elevated immunoglobulin A autoantibodies to tissue transglutaminase, confirming its pathogenic relation with celiac disease and further supporting the usefulness of this novel assay for screening and therapy control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-136
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1999


  • Autoantibody
  • Celiac disease
  • Endomysial antibody
  • Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology
  • Cell Biology

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