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Clin Exp Immunol. 2010 May;160(2):199-206. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2249.2009.04077.x. Epub 2009 Dec 21.

High density of intraepithelial gammadelta lymphocytes and deposits of immunoglobulin (Ig)M anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies in the jejunum of coeliac patients with IgA deficiency.

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Department of Paediatrics and European Laboratory for the Investigation of Food-Induced Diseases, University Federico II, Naples, Italy.


The diagnosis of coeliac disease (CD) represents a special challenge in selective immunoglobulin (Ig)A deficiency (IgAD). A high density of T cell receptor (TCR)gammadelta(+) intraepithelial lymphocytes (IELs) and intestinal IgA anti-tissue transglutaminase 2 (anti-TG2) antibody deposits are suggestive of CD. We analysed the density of TCRgammadelta(+) IELs and the deposition of IgM anti-TG2 antibodies in the jejunal mucosa of IgAD patients with and without CD. Immunohistochemical analyses for the number of CD3+ and TCRgammadelta(+) IELs and double immunofluorescence assay for IgM anti-TG2 antibody deposits were performed in biopsies from 25 children with IgAD (nine untreated CD, seven potential CD and nine without CD). Sixteen immunologically intact children without CD represented the controls. IgAD without CD had a higher number of CD3+ and TCRgammadelta(+) IELs than controls (P < 0.05), but lower than IgAD with CD (P < 0.01). No significant differences were noted between IgAD subjects without CD and those with potential CD. Furthermore, IgAD patients without CD showed a higher TCRgammadelta(+)/CD3+ ratio than the control group (P < 0.05), while the ratio was similar to subjects with CD and potential CD. Intestinal IgM anti-TG2 antibody deposits were present in six of seven of the IgAD patients with untreated CD, one of seven with potential CD and none of those without CD. Most of the patients with IgAD show immune activation in the jejunal mucosa. IgM anti-TG2 antibody deposits are present only in CD. Intestinal IgM anti-TG2 and immunohistochemical markers do not discriminate between IgAD and potential CD with IgAD. Therefore, the serum IgG CD-associated autoantibodies remains very important for the diagnosis of CD in IgAD.

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