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Dig Dis Sci. 2007 Sep;52(9):2133-9. Epub 2007 Apr 4.

Morphometric analysis of small-bowel mucosa in Turkish children with celiac disease and relationship with the clinical presentation and laboratory findings.

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Department Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition, Faculty of Medicine, Ege University, Izmir, Turkey.


We aimed to analyze morphometric features of the small-bowel mucosa in children with celiac disease, to assess the diagnostic limit values of morphometric findings, and to examine the association of morphometric findings with the clinical presentation and laboratory findings. The study comprised 33 patients with celiac disease and 35 pediatric patients undergoing endoscopy for other causes. Biopsy specimens were reanalyzed for (1) intraepithelial lymphocytes, (2) goblet cells, (3) villous height, and (4) villous/crypt ratio. The morphometric parameters of the patients were compared with controls. Then celiac patients were divided into two groups according to the presence of total villous atrophy and clinical and laboratory findings were compared. Histologic examination revealed that goblet cells, villus height, and villous/crypt ratio were significantly lower and intraepithelial lymphocytes were significantly higher in celiac patients. Cutoff values for intraepithelial lymphocytes and goblet cells in celiac patients were 31/100 and 7.8/100 epithelial cells, respectively. Moreover, for villus height and villous/crypt ratio, cutoff values were 633 microm and 0.72, respectively. Serum folic acid and vitamin B(12) levels were significantly lower in patients with total villous atrophy and were positively correlated with the severity of villous atrophy. We suggest that morphologic examination and laboratory data are important for definitive diagnosis. Villous/crypt ratio is the most sensitive and specific parameter, and intraepithelial lymphocytes may be used along with villous/crypt ratio, especially in the early phase. Folic acid and vitamin B(12) levels are good indicators of villous atrophy.

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