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Deamidated Gliadin Antibody

Does this test have other names?

Deamidated gliadin peptide antibodies, DGP, DGP-AGA, DGP IgA and IgG

What is this test?

This test looks for the level of deamidated gliadin antibodies (DMG) in your blood. Gliadin is one of the main proteins in gluten. The test is used to help find out whether you have celiac disease, an autoimmune disease.

If you have celiac disease, your immune system responds abnormally to gluten, which is mainly found in wheat, barley, and rye products. It's also found in common products, such as lip balm, medicines, and vitamins. If you consume products that contain gluten, your immune system attacks and damages the tiny tubules that line the small intestine. If these villi are destroyed, you will become malnourished even if you are eating well. Complications of celiac disease include joint pain, thinning bones, anemia, seizures, and cancer.

More than 9 in 10 people with untreated celiac disease have higher-than-normal levels of DMG antibodies. But very few people without the disease do.

Why do I need this test?

You may need this test if you have symptoms of celiac disease. Symptoms vary from person to person, but common ones include:

  • Persistent diarrhea

  • Weight loss

  • Stomach pain and bloating

  • Excessive gas

  • Constipation

  • Stools that are pale, fatty, or smell unusually bad

  • Canker sores in the mouth

  • Itchy rash

  • Tingling and numbness

  • Anxiety or depression

  • Tiredness

Even if you don't have symptoms, your healthcare provider may also order this test if you have iron deficiency anemia or a deficiency in folate or vitamin B-12. These deficiencies may mean that your body is not absorbing enough nutrients.

Other symptoms of celiac disease that might trigger the need for this test include:

  • Reduced fertility, recurrent miscarriages

  • Regular migraine headaches

  • Delayed puberty and growth

  • Short stature

  • Low birth weight in babies

Several conditions are also more common in people with celiac disease. Your healthcare provider may order this test if you have symptoms of celiac disease and have one of these conditions:

  • Type 1 diabetes or other autoimmune disorder

  • Down syndrome

  • Turner syndrome

  • Williams syndrome

If you have already been diagnosed with celiac disease and are on a gluten-free diet, your healthcare provider may have you tested from time to time to see whether your body is responding well to the new diet.

What other tests might I have along with this test?

Your healthcare provider may also order other blood tests to look for celiac disease:

  • A tissue transglutaminase antibody, or IgA tTG

  • IgA endomysial antibody, or IgA EMAIg

  • Complete blood count

  • Lipid levels, for total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides

  • Thyroid levels

Your healthcare provider will likely want to confirm the diagnosis of celiac disease with a small bowel biopsy. They may also do a bone density scan to see whether you have bone loss as a result of the celiac disease.

What do my test results mean?

Test results may vary depending on your age, gender, health history, and other things. Your test results may be different depending on the lab used. They may not mean you have a problem. Ask your healthcare provider what your test results mean for you.

Normal results are negative. If you are at low risk for celiac disease and have a negative result, it likely means you don't have the condition. If you are at high risk for celiac disease and have a negative result, your healthcare provider will interpret the results based on your symptoms and medical history. They may do a small bowel biopsy in case it's a false-negative.

A positive test result means that it's likely you have celiac disease. Usually, your healthcare provider will do a small bowel biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.

How is this test done?

The test is done with a blood sample. A needle is used to draw blood from a vein in your arm or hand. 

Does this test pose any risks?

Having a blood test with a needle carries some risks. These include bleeding, infection, bruising, and feeling lightheaded. When the needle pricks your arm or hand, you may feel a slight sting or pain. Afterward, the site may be sore. 

What might affect my test results?

If you have not been eating foods containing gluten in the weeks before your test, your antibody levels could be normal even though you have celiac disease. It's important to keep gluten in your diet before the test.

The test may not be as accurate in children younger than age 2.

How do I get ready for this test?

It's important to eat a normal diet, including foods that contain gluten, in the weeks leading up to your test. If you have gone off of gluten foods because you suspect celiac disease, your provider will likely have you go back on a gluten-rich diet for 2 to 8 weeks before the test.

Be sure your healthcare provider knows about all medicines, herbs, vitamins, and supplements you are taking. This includes medicines that don't need a prescription and any illegal drugs you may use.

Online Medical Reviewer: Chad Haldeman-Englert MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Turley Jr PA-C
Online Medical Reviewer: Tara Novick BSN MSN
Date Last Reviewed: 9/1/2022
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