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Gastric parietal cell antibodies (GPCA)

Category Immunology
Test background

These antibodies are directed against the acid producing enzyme H+/K+ ATPase (gastric proton pump) found within the canaliculi of the gastric parietal cells and gastric microsomes.

Antibodies to gastric parietal cells (GPCA) are commonly associated with iron deficiency anaemia and are a risk factor for the development of autoimmune atrophic gastritis. They are seen in around 5-10% of the healthy population and in 20% of patients with H.pylori infection. Those positive for parietal cell antibodies should have iron and vitamin B12 levels checked and be screened for Intrinsic factor antibodies and H.pylori infection.

GPCA is tested by indirect immunofluorescence on mouse liver/kidney/stomach (LKS) sections. They are often detected incidentally in patients being screened for autoimmune liver disease.

Clinical Indications

Atrophic gastritis. Present in the early stages of pernicious anaemia, frequently diminishing with disease progression.
Nb. The British Society of Haematology (BSH) does not recommend GPCA testing as a screening test for pernicious anaemia (Devalia V, et al. Br J Haematol. 2014 Aug;166(4):496-513.)

Reference range


Sample & container required Serum (RST rust top)
Sample volume 5-10 mL blood (1 mL serum)
Turnaround time 7 days

Currently unaccredited due to change in platform.