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Papers And Originals

Precipitins to Dietary Proteins in Serum and Upper Intestinal Secretions of Coeliac Children

Br Med J 1972; 1 doi: (Published 08 January 1972) Cite this as: Br Med J 1972;1:75
  1. Anne Ferguson,
  2. F. Carswell


    We have used precipitin tests to detect antibodies to 10 dietary proteins in the serum (71 cases) and intestinal secretions (51 cases) of a group of children. Thirty-three of the patients had untreated coeliac disease. Our aims were to find out if, in coeliac patients, there was intestinal secretion of antibodies to wheat proteins only or if, as in coeliac serum, antibodies to many food proteins were present; and to confirm that secretion of antibodies to wheat or gluten was specific for coeliac disease.

    Precipitins to one or more dietary antigens were detected in the intestinal secretions of 26 out of 30 coeliacs and of 11 out of 21 children who did not have coeliac disease. Most of the positive reactions were with the antigens wheat flour, gluten, oatmeal, and egg. Though precipitins to wheat flour or gluten were present in the intestinal secretions of 22 out of 30 coeliacs this was not specific for coeliac disease for these precipitins were also present in 8 out of 21 non-coeliac children.

    Serum precipitins were detected in 27 out of 33 coeliacs (to the antigens wheat flour, gluten, oatmeal, rice flour, milk, bovine calf serum, sheep serum, and egg) and in 5 out of 33 non-coeliacs (mainly to milk and calf serum, but two infants aged 3 and 5 months had precipitins to several antigens).