By accurate morphometry the length of the rough endoplasmic reticulum (RER) was estimated in electron micrographs of a population of jejunal plasma cells in biopsies obtained from normal volunteers, untreated coeliac disease patients, and coeliac disease patients treated for one year on a gluten free diet. Increase in length or hypertrophy of the endoplasmic reticulum is an indication of increased protein synthesis of the cell (Ghadially, 1977). An increase compared with normal length was demonstrated in the mean length of the plasma cell rough endoplasmic reticulum in plasma cells obtained from both groups of coeliac patients. This estimate of increased protein production--in this case immunoglobulin--indicates an increase in the immunological activity of plasma cells even after treatment and suggests not only a reaction to dietary gluten but probably to other antigens also.
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