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Rev Esp Enferm Dig. 2020 Feb 5. doi: 10.17235/reed.2020.6391/2019. [Epub ahead of print]

Duodenal lymphogram as a complementary tool in the diagnosis of celiac disease in adults.

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Servicio de Aparato Digestivo, Hospital Clínico Universitario de Valladolid, España.
Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Linköping University, Sweden.
Unidad Inmunología de las Mucosas. IBGM, Universidad de Valladolid.
Anatomía Patológica, Hospital Clínico Universitario de Valladolid.
Análisis Clínicos, Hospital Universitario Río Hortega.
Servicio de Aparato Digestivo, Hospital Clínico Universitario de Valladolid, ESPAÑA.



celiac disease (CD) patients have a specific pattern of lymphocytic infiltrate in the duodenal mucosa. Flow cytometry is a complementary tool for the diagnosis of CD, which allows the quantification and characterization of intraepithelial lymphocytes (IELs) by what is commonly called a lymphogram. Here we describe our experience with this technique in the diagnosis of CD in adult patients.


lymphograms from 157 patients performed in our center between 2009 and 2017 were retrospectively analyzed. Fourteen patients had a previous diagnosis of CD and followed a gluten-free diet (GFD), 21 had a new diagnosis of CD and the remaining were considered as non-celiac. The association of the lymphogram results (total IELs, CD3- lymphocytes and TcRγδ lymphocytes) with the CD diagnosis, compliance with the GFD, time since diagnosis and IgA anti-TG2 titer were determined.


the area under the ROC curve of TcRγδ lymphocytes for CD patients varied between 0.86 and 0.86. The percentage of TcRγδ lymphocytes in GFD-treated patients was lower; 12 (8.5) vs 20.5 (8.7), p = 0.0153. However, it remained high compared to non-CD; 12 (8.5) vs 6.7 (6), p = 0.135. The time since diagnosis and IgA anti-TG2 titer correlated with the lymphogram results. Helicobacter pylori infection and treatment with angiotensin receptor antagonist 2 (ARA2) were associated with differences in the lymphogram results in patients without CD.


the duodenal lymphogram is a reliable complementary tool in adults for the diagnosis of CD. However, compliance and duration of the GFD and other factors may condition its diagnostic capacity.

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