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Transglutaminase and the pathogenesis of coeliac disease.

Publiceringsår: 2008
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 83-91
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: European Journal of Internal Medicine
Volym: 19
Nummer: 2
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: Elsevier


In 1997, a German group demonstrated that the antigen of the biomarker EMA (endomysial antibodies) in coeliac disease is a calcium-dependent thiol enzyme, transglutaminase type 2 (TG2). This most important discovery opened up an exciting field of research aimed at a better understanding of the pathogenesis of coeliac disease, a T-cell-driven autoimmune disorder with a prevalence of about 1%. The accidental activation of TG2, possibly caused by a stress-induced local deficiency of zinc in the intestinal wall, might play a key role where the enzyme catalyzes an atypical deamidation of specific glutamine residues of food gliadins. The genetic contribution is HLA DQ2 or DQ8, which can form a complex with the TG2-modified gliadin residues, resulting in an immune response with the formation of antibodies against both gliadin and the enzyme. Indeed, the immunopathogenesis of coeliac disease can now be recognized partly at the molecular level. Progress has already improved the opportunities for laboratory diagnostics and, hopefully, new ways of treating and preventing coeliac disease will become available. These exciting developments might stimulate research within other fields of autoimmune disorders. With its focus on TG2, this review highlights some of the intriguing mechanisms of the pathogenesis of coeliac disease, such as the structure of the neo-antigen, the involvement of calcium and zinc, and the effects of coeliac antibodies on TG2 activity. Moreover, the many pitfalls due to dubious laboratory practice are addressed, as is the potential when a fundamental biological mechanism is understood at the molecular level.


  • Family Medicine


  • Chronic Inflammatory and Degenerative Diseases Research Unit
  • ISSN: 1879-0828

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