Anti-ganglioside antibodies in children with coeliac disease: correlation with gluten-free diet and neurological complications

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Abstract

Background

Emerging evidence points to humoural mechanisms in neurological complications of coeliac disease. Immunoglobulin G anti-ganglioside antibodies have been reported in coeliac disease patients with neuropathy, suggesting an immune response to peripheral nerve antigens. No data are so far available on anti-ganglioside antibodies in coeliac disease children or on antibody modifications after gluten-free diet.

Aim

To evaluate the presence of antibodies to ganglioside antigens in children with coeliac disease, their modification after gluten-free diet, and possible correlations with neurological manifestations.

Methods

Sera from 42 coeliac disease children, before and after gluten-free diet, were tested by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for the presence of antibodies (immunoglobulin M, immunoglobulin A, immunoglobulin G) to gangliosides. Thirty-five sera of age-matched children with dyspepsia were used as control.

Results

High anti-ganglioside antibodies titres were present in two patients. In one patient, antibody titre reversed after gluten-free diet, whereas in the other one the titre increased after diet. Neither one complained of neurological symptoms.

Conclusions

Anti-ganglioside antibodies do not seem to correlate with gluten ingestion or with neurological manifestations in children with coeliac disease. Mechanisms different from gluten exposure may be implicated in the antibody production. An ongoing prospective study will help clarify the role, if any, of these antibodies in coeliac disease.

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