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Scand J Gastroenterol. 1985 Aug;20(6):715-9.

Studies of intestinal lymphoid tissue. IX. Dose-dependent, gluten-induced lymphoid infiltration of coeliac jejunal epithelium.


Jejunal biopsy specimens from coeliac patients who had received small, oral doses (100-1500 mg) of a peptic-tryptic gluten digest were analysed by morphometric methods. An increase in the total number of surface epithelial lymphocytes, maximal at 12 h after challenge, was dose-dependent, the mean percentage rise at this time being 53% (p less than 0.005), 44% (p = 0.01), and 25% (p greater than 0.05) with 1500, 1000, and 500 mg of gluten digest, respectively. This effect was not accompanied by any increased mitotic activity or blast transformation among the infiltrating lymphocytes, nor was there any demonstrable alteration in mucosal structure-that is, reduction in surface or increase in crypt epithelial volumes. The results of this controlled morphometric analysis indicate that oral gluten challenge causes an increase in the lymphocyte population of surface epithelium in coeliac disease but that this effect does not necessarily result in mucosal damage.

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