Clinical experience and observational studies suggest that individuals with coeliac disease are at increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), but the precise mechanism for this is unclear. Laboratory studies suggest that it may relate to tissue transglutaminase antibodies (tTGAs). Our aim was to examine whether seropositivity for tTGA and endomysial antibodies (EMAs) are associated with incident CHD in humans.
We used data from Mini-Finland Health Survey, a prospective cohort study of Finnish men and women aged 35-80 at study baseline 1978-80. TTGA and EMA seropositivities were ascertained from baseline blood samples and incident CHD events were identified from national hospitalisation and death registers. Cox regression was used to examine the associations between antibody seropositivity and incident CHD. Of 6887 men and women, 562 were seropositive for tTGAs and 72 for EMAs. During a median follow-up of 26 years, 2367 individuals experienced a CHD event. We found no clear evidence for an association between tTGA positivity (hazard ratio, HR: 1.04, 95% confidence interval, CI: 0.83, 1.30) or EMA positivity (HR: 1.16, 95% CI: 0.77, 1.74) and incident CHD, once pre-existing CVD and known CHD risk factors had been adjusted for.
We found no clear evidence for an association of tTGA or EMA seropositivity with incident CHD outcomes, suggesting that tTG autoimmunity is unlikely to be the biological link between coeliac disease and CHD.