Prevalence of Celiac Disease Autoimmunity Among Adolescents and Young Adults in China

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Abstract

BACKGROUND & AIMS:

In China, epidemiologic information on celiac disease autoimmunity is scarce and fragmented. We investigated the prevalence of celiac disease autoimmunity in the general Chinese population.

METHODS:

In a cross-sectional prospective study, 19,778 undiagnosed Chinese adolescents and young adults (age, 16–25 y) were recruited from consecutive new students who underwent routine physical examinations at 2 universities in Jiangxi, China, from September 2010 through October 2013; the students were from 27 geographic regions in China. All subjects were tested for serum IgG, IgG against deamidated gliadin peptides (IgG anti-DGP), and IgA anti–tissue transglutaminase antibodies (IgA anti-tTG). We also analyzed HLA genotypes in subgroups of participants with different results from tests for serum markers of celiac disease.

RESULTS:

A total of 434 students (2.19%) tested positive for serum markers for celiac disease (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.99%–2.41%), 0.36% of the students tested positive for anti-tTG IgA (95% CI, 0.28%–0.46%), and 1.88% tested positive for anti-DGP IgG (95% CI, 1.70%–2.09%). The prevalence of celiac disease autoimmunity (positive results in assays for anti-tTG IgA and anti-DGP-IgG) was 0.06% (95% CI, 0.03%–0.10%). Celiac disease autoimmunity was associated with the consumption of wheat and female sex. The prevalence in the Shandong province in north China, where wheat is a staple in the diet, was 0.76% (95% CI, 0.21%–1.95%). The frequencies of the HLA-DQ2/-DQ8 genotypes associated with celiac disease were higher in subjects with celiac disease autoimmunity, based on detection of both serum markers, than in subjects with positive results from a single test (P < .01). All subjects with positive results from both assays carried the HLA-DQ2 genotype.

CONCLUSIONS:

Approximately 2% of adolescents or young adults in China had positive results from assays for serum markers for celiac disease. The prevalence of celiac disease autoimmunity in the Shandong province in north China, where wheat is a staple in the diet, was 0.76%.

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