Using immunohistochemical techniques we studied duodenal biopsies from 18 patients with coeliac disease and 24 patients with normal duodenal morphology. We had access to antisera against the following gastrointestinal peptides: cholecystokinin (CCK), gastric inhibitory peptide (GIP), gastrin-17, glucagon-enteroglucagon, motilin, neurotensin, pancreatic peptide (PP), secretin, somatostatin, substance P and vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP). The somatostatin, GIP, CCK, and glucagon cells were increased in number in coeliac disease. The number of motilin cells was slightly increased, while secretin cells were reduced. Cells storing gastrin-17, substance P, or neurotensin were rare in all patients regardless of diagnosis. No PP immunoreactive cells were found and VIP was localised to neurons only. In biopsies from patients having a mucosa with ridging of villi the number of the various endocrine cell types did not differ from that in the control group.
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