Positive for parietal cell antibodies - Pernicious Anaemi...

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Positive for parietal cell antibodies

Sick-and-Tired profile image

Hi everyone, I'm 30 years old and have been seeking a reason for feeling incredibly ill with a whole range of symptoms for over a decade.

After using Blue Horizon I found a few years ago that I had hashimotos and so commenced a long battle to get treatment.

I am now on Levothyroxine but feeling no better, which is disheartening. However, at a doctor's appointment today I found out that over a year ago I tested positive for Parietal Cell Antibodies but was never told. I tested negative for Intrinsic Factor Antibodies.

My B12 is on the low side but still within range (330), and I'm working on making sure that my vitamin D, Folate and Ferritin are higher in their ranges as they always seem to be on the low side (but are within range).

My question is, what do these antibodies mean? Google isn't helping me much! Does this mean I have autoimmune gastritis? My doctor said the antibodies are normal and not to worry about it.

Also, if I take a B12 supplement she's this mean it will have to be the injections? I know everyone says self injecting is fine but if I could get away with skiing sublingual I would much prefer that!

Any advice on what the presence of these antibodies means would be greatly appreciated.


2 Replies

The Parietal Cell antibody test is no longer recommended because it gives too many false positives. You really can’t tell anything from that test alone.

If you tested the general population then the chances of somebody with a positive result having PA is about is about 1 in 10.

It's only in combination with other indicators that it becomes useful. If you have symptoms of a B12 deficiency, fairly low serum B12 and metaplastic gastric atrophy then the chances of you having PA are quite high. A positive GPC antibody test makes those chances high enough to be near conclusive.

The way results are worded can sometime be tricky/confusing. When it comes to antibodies, there is usually a range (at the low end) where having a few of those antibodies can be normal and harmless. However, a "positive" result usually means that your antibody levels are higher than that normal/harmless level. It could be an indication of autoimmune gastritis but, as fbirder says, it might not be that. The test is not infallible.

The thing to keep in mind is that parietal cell antibodies are antibodies that attack the cells that line the stomach. Since those are the cells that make intrinsic factor, having those cells damaged causes a reduction in intrinsic factor and a reduction in the ability to absorb B12 through digestion.

Your B12 level may not be officially low yet, but it might become low in the future due to the impaired absorption problem. You may also have difficulty absorbing other nutrients as well, depending on how severe the gastritis is/becomes.

While the parietal cell antibody test may not be the best test for diagnosing pernicious anemia, it is still a valuable tool. Knowing that you've tested positive is a clue for your doctor to follow up on. You may need to prod your doctor a bit to actually follow up on it though.

In the end, damage to the cells that line the stomach and create intrinsic factor causes the same malabsorption issues as pernicious anemia caused by antibodies to intrinisic factor itself. In fact it can be more of a problem since it can cause deficiencies in other nutrients as well. It is best to get it followed up on.

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