Jejunal biopsies from controls and coeliac patients were maintained in organ culture for up to 48 hours. The in vitro effect of gluten fraction III during the period of culture was assessed by measurement of the activity of the brush border enzymes alkaline phosphatase and alpha-glucosidase. Mucosa from controls and treated and untreated coeliacs behaved similarly and no reproducible in vitro effect of gluten was demonstrated. These results cast doubt on the in vitro diagnosis of coeliac disease by monitoring brush border enzyme activity.
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