Do parietal cell antibodies mean auto... - Pernicious Anaemi...

Pernicious Anaemia Society

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Do parietal cell antibodies mean autoimmune gastritis and should you get regular endoscopy?

thisisme255 profile image

Hi, I'm new to posting here and this is my first post.

I was diagnosed with hashimoto's (under-active thyroid) in 2004 and the doctor investigating at the time also found parietal cell antibodies (PCA) and sent me for an endoscopy to rule out pernicious anaemia and coeliacs. The endoscopy was normal and so a diagnosis of irritable gastritis (I think, from memory) was made with no follow up. This was about 17 years ago and I never really understood what parietal cell antibodies were but have been delving into my health recently and am now scared that I have autoimmune gastritis (not sure if this goes hand in hand with PCA) and my stomach lining could be destroyed but no-one over the years has suggested to do another endoscopy. I have always had issues with digestion, excess bloating, occasional stomach burning, but have only ever been referred to dieticians. I'm just wandering if someone has parietal cell antibodies, if you are meant to have regular endoscopy's to check the stomach? I have asked if I can get an appointment with my current doctor to ask for a referral to gastro

3 Replies

Gastric Parietal Cell antibodies are present in about 10% of the population. This is what the British Committee on Standards in Haematology say about GPC antibodies -

Gastric parietal cell (GPC) antibodies have a low specificity for the presence of pernicious anaemia as, despite being positive in 80% of pernicious anaemia subjects, they are also positive in 10% of normal individuals. Positive GPC antibodies may cause gastric acid achlorhydria and progression to pernicious anaemia may occur. However, a positive GPC antibody test is not definitive for pernicious anaemia.

If you do have autoimmune gastritis it's nothing much to be afraid of. Everybody with PA has it. The stomach lining doesn't get destroyed. The GPCs are killed off, but they are replaced with another type of cell. This metaplasia (A change of cells to a form that does not normally occur in the tissue in which it is found) would show up in an endoscopy.

I think you should ask your GP for a gastroscopy, just to check on your gastrointestinal problems. They could be caused by autoimmune metaplastic gastric atrophy, they could be caused by infection with Helicobacter pylori, they could be caused by something else. it's worth having them stick a camera down there just to put your mind at rest.

thisisme255 profile image
thisisme255 in reply to fbirder

Thank you so much for your reply, I was worrying a lot over the weekend so reading your reply was reassuring. I started freaking out a bit about the increased risk of stomach cancer because I read that autoimmune atrophic gastritis is a pre-cancerous condition or does increase your risks of this. I also have over the years suffered with low iron and lately can't stomach the prescribed iron tablets so I'm researching/keep asking doctors other options for getting iron. Liquid iron seems to be much easier on the stomach.

fbirder profile image
fbirder in reply to thisisme255

Having autoimmune metaplastic gastric atrophy (AMGA) does increase your chances of a type of stomach cancer called Neuroendocrine Tumours (NETs) but it's still a very small chance (I only know of two others).

Even If you do get NETs they tend to sit around and do nothing. I've had them for at least five years and I have a gastroscopy once a year, just to keep an eye on them.

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