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Indian J Pathol Microbiol. 2019 Jul-Sep;62(3):399-404. doi: 10.4103/IJPM.IJPM_703_18.

Duodenal mucosal immune cells in treatment-naive adult patients with celiac disease having different histological grades and controls.

Author information

Department of Pathology, AIIMS, New Delhi, India.
Department of Gastroenterology and Human Nutritions, AIIMS, New Delhi, India.
Department of Biostatistics, AIIMS, New Delhi, India.



It is hypothesized that the duodenal mucosal damage in patients with celiac disease (CeD) is caused by the mucosa-infiltrating lymphoid cells. This study aimed to analyze the immune effective and regulatory T (Treg) cells in duodenal biopsies from treatment-naive adult patients with CeD having different histological grades and controls.

Patients and Methods:

Dual-color immunohistochemical staining was done in a total of 234 duodenal biopsies, including 132 controls and 102 adult patients with CeD using CD20, CD3:CD4, CD3:CD8, CD4:FoxP3, CD8:FoxP3, and TCRαβ:TCRγδ antibodies. The density of these lymphoid cells in lamina propria and mucosal epithelium was compared between controls and CeD, with different modified Marsh grades.


Densities of CD4+ T cells in lamina propria and CD8+γδ intraepithelial lymphocytes (IELs) were significantly more in biopsies from patients with CeD, than in controls. An increasing linear pattern of IELs, CD3+ T cells, and CD20+ B cells was observed with increasing grades of villous abnormalities. Although CD8+ FoxP3+ Treg cells were significantly more in biopsies from patients with CeD, there was no significant difference in CD4+ FoxP3+ Treg cell infiltrate between both the groups.


Our finding in this observational study generates interest to study the local intestinal mucosal immunity in CeD in detail. A study to prove the failure of CD4+ FoxP3+ Treg cell recruitment in CeD and its direct functional impact may yield valuable information regarding loss of mucosal tolerance.


Duodenum; immunohistochemistry; intraepithelial lymphocytes; mucosa; tolerance

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