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November 1992

Serologic Markers of Gluten-Sensitive Enteropathy in Bullous Diseases

Author Affiliations

From the The Ernest Witebsky Center for Immunology, Departments of Microbiology and Dermatology, State University of New York at Buffalo (Dr Kumar); the Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences, School of Health Related Professions, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark (Dr Zane); and Immco Diagnostics Inc, Buffalo, NY (Dr Kumar and Ms Kaul).

Arch Dermatol. 1992;128(11):1474-1478. doi:10.1001/archderm.1992.01680210052006

• Background and Design.—  Dermatitis herpetiformis (DH) is characterized immunologically by the presence of IgA immune deposits in the skin and by the presence of various serum antibodies. Of these, antibodies to gliadin, reticulin, and endomysium have been found to be significant. There are, however, conflicting reports as to the exact specificity and sensitivity of these serologic markers in diagnosing DH. We examined the disease specificity of these three antibody markers in 14 patients with DH, in 98 patients with pemphigus and pemphigoid, and in 26 normal subjects. Reticulin and endomysium antibodies were detected by indirect immunofluorescence and gliadin antibodies by means of the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay method.

Results.—  Among the various bullous diseases, endomysial and reticulin antibodies were found to be disease specific for DH. Endomysial antibodies occurred in twice the number of DH patients (72%) compared with the occurrence of reticulin antibodies (36%). Antigliadin antibodies were detected in two thirds of DH patients and were not disease specific since increased frequencies of these antibodies were also detected in patients with pemphigus and pemphigoid.

Conclusion.—  These studies support the earlier findings of the high degree of specificity of endomysial antibodies for DH and, thus, help to differentiate DH from other bullous disorders.(Arch Dermatol. 1992;128:1474-1478)

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