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Anti-Endomysium Antibodies (EMA) Present In Blood

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Smooth muscle. Courtesy pathguy.com

Smooth Muscle. Courtesy pathguy.com

What Are Anti-Endomysium Antibodies?

Anti-endomysium antibodies (EmA) are connective tissue autoantibodies produced in persons who have inherited the genes for celiac disease, an autoimmune disease, and are reacting to gluten in their diet.

Autoantibodies are abnormal in that they attack the body’s own tissue.

Q: What is endomysium?

A: Endomysium is the delicate connective tissue that surrounds individual muscle fibers. The autoantigen, or target, that stimulates the autoimmune response is the naturally occuring enzyme in endomysium called tissue transglutaminase (tTG), or more specifically tranglutaminase-2 (TG2). Anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies recognize the same antigen as EmA, from which they differ in terms of detection method.

Anti-endomysium antibodies (EmA) are tested by the indirect immunofluorescence method and directed against “reticulin-like” fibres in connective tissue around smooth muscle fibres in the esophagus, liver, stomach, and bladder of monkeys, in the sections of the jejunum and kidneys of rats and in sections of the human umbilical cord. In comparison, for the determination of anti-tissue transglutaminase IgA and IgG antibodies, ELISA with human extractive or recombinant transglutaminase is recommended.1

EmA‐binding patterns in serum samples from patients with celiac disease have proved to be exclusively TG2‐targeted and the correlation between EmA and TG2 antibodies is therefore good. Evidence shows that celiac autoantibodies are produced in the small‐bowel mucosa.2

What Are Anti-Endomysium Antibodies In Celiac Disease and/or Gluten Sensitivity?


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  1. Trigoni E, Tsirogianni A, Pipi E, Mantzaris G, Papasteriades C. Celiac disease in adult patients: specific autoantibodies in the diagnosis, monitoring, and screening. Autoimmune Dis. 2014;2014:623514. doi: 10.1155/2014/623514. []
  2. Salmi TT, Collin P, Korponay-Szabó IR, Laurila K, Partanen J, Huhtala H, Király R, Lorand L, Reunala T, Mäki M, Kaukinen K. Endomysial antibody‐negative coeliac disease: clinical characteristics and intestinal autoantibody deposits.Gut. 2006 Dec;55(12):1746-53. []