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Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 1991 Apr;5(2):151-60.

Morphometric studies in duodenal biopsies from patients with coeliac disease: the effect of the steroid fluticasone propionate.

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Gastroenterology Unit, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.


Morphometric measurements have been performed on small intestinal biopsy specimens from patients with untreated coeliac disease before and after six weeks oral treatment with a steroid of low systemic bioavailability (fluticasone propionate). Measurements were obtained by point counting and also by a computer-aided measuring system with reference to a constant area of the muscularis mucosa. Fluticasone propionate led to a parallel reduction in the intraepithelial lymphocyte count within the surface (P less than 0.001) and crypt epithelium (P less than 0.01). The intra-epithelial lymphocyte count assessed by reference to constant areas of the muscularis mucosa and surface epithelium were decreased two-fold (P less than 0.01) and seven-fold (P less than 0.001) respectively. Fluticasone propionate treatment also led to significant increases in the absorptive surface epithelium as shown by an increase in the villus:crypt ratio (P less than 0.01), the epithelial cell height (P less than 0.01) and two- to three-fold increases in the area and length of the surface epithelium (P less than 0.001). Short-term fluticasone propionate treatment appears to exert a powerful beneficial effect upon duodenal morphology in patients with coeliac disease. Whether the alterations seen are comparable to a similar period of gluten withdrawal is not yet known.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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