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Klin Wochenschr. 1983 Jul 15;61(14):669-79.

[Gluten-sensitive enteropathy--in the light of new clinical and pathogenetic aspects].

[Article in German]


The corn protein gluten causes the gluten-sensitive enteropathy in susceptible persons (HLA-antigens). The diagnosis is made on the basis of the morphological criteria of villous atrophy of the jejunal mucosa and the clinical observation that the malabsorption can be healed by a gluten-free diet. The disease, which occurs in children and adults, is a distinct entity. Life-long adherence to a gluten-free diet is difficult. Intentional or unintentional reintroduction of gluten often causes masked disease states. These are best classified on the basis of electron-microscopy study of the jejunal biopsy. We propose a new classification of the phases of remission. A group of diseases exist which are closely related to gluten-sensitive enteropathy. Frequently villous atrophy is detectable. However, the disease does not respond to a gluten-free diet. The pathophysiology of these diseases is at present unclear. Diseases involving autoimmune processes also appear to be associated with gluten-sensitive enteropathy. The common factor is probably an immuno-genetic defect. This is supported by the existence of common HLA-antigen constellations. Gluten has been characterised in vitro as a lectin with oligomannose specificity. This provides a new pathomechanism for the gluten induced enterocytic destruction.

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