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In adults, pernicious anaemia is an auto-immune disorder.
Auto-antibodies to gastric parietal cells are present in 90% of cases but are not pathognomonic as they may occur:
Auto-antibodies to intrinsic factor are more specific. They are found in the serum in 55% of cases and in gastric juice in 80%. They are of two types:
In children pernicious anaemia may occur very rarely due to congenitally absent or abnormal intrinsic factor.