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Nutrients. 2020 Feb 13;12(2). pii: E467. doi: 10.3390/nu12020467.

Intestinal TG3- and TG2-Specific Plasma Cell Responses in Dermatitis Herpetiformis Patients Undergoing a Gluten Challenge.

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Celiac Disease Research Center, Faculty of Medicine and Health Technology, Tampere University, 33520 Tampere, Finland.
Tampere Center for Child Health Research, Tampere University, Tampere, the Department of Paediatrics, Tampere University Hospital, 33520 Tampere, Finland.
The University Consortium of Seinäjoki and Seinäjoki Central Hospital, 60220 Seinäjoki, Finland.
Department of Internal Medicine, Tampere University Hospital, 33520 Tampere, Finland.
Department of Dermatology, Tampere University Hospital, 33520 Tampere, Finland.
Faculty of Social Sciences, Tampere University, 33520 Tampere, Finland.


Dermatitis herpetiformis (DH), a cutaneous manifestation of coeliac disease, is characterized by transglutaminase (TG) 3-targeted dermal immunoglobulin A (IgA) deposits. The treatment for DH is the same as for coeliac disease, namely a life-long gluten-free diet. DH patients typically have gluten-dependent circulating autoantibodies targeting TG3 and TG2, and plasma cells secreting such autoantibodies have been detected in the small intestinal mucosa. This study investigates the gluten-responsiveness of intestinal TG3 and TG2 antibody-secreting plasma cells in 16 treated DH patients undergoing a gluten challenge. The frequency of both plasma cell populations increased significantly during the challenge, and their frequency correlated with the corresponding serum autoantibody levels at post-challenge. TG3-specific plasma cells were absent in all 18 untreated coeliac disease patients and seven non-coeliac control subjects on gluten-containing diets. These findings indicate that, in DH, both intestinal TG3- and TG2-antibody secreting plasma cells are gluten-dependent, and that TG3-antibody secreting plasma cells are DH-specific.


autoantibody; coeliac disease; dermatitis herpetiformis; plasma cell; transglutaminase

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