The subclass distribution of IgG-producing immunocytes was studied by two colour immunohistochemistry with monoclonal antibodies in jejunal biopsy specimens from 10 adults with untreated coeliac disease, 11 coeliac disease patients on a gluten free diet, and seven patients with established food allergy. Paired immunofluorescence staining was performed with subclass specific murine monoclonal antibodies in combination with polyclonal rabbit antibody reagent to total IgG; the proportion of cells belonging to each subclass could thereby be determined. The ratio of IgG2 immunocytes was significantly higher (p less than 0.05) in untreated coeliac disease patients (median, 35.2%; range, 26.7-65.2%) than in those on a gluten free diet (median, 7.3%; range, 0-31.9%) or those having food allergy (median, 12.5%; range, 0-36.5%). The disparity in the local IgG2 response between patients with untreated coeliac disease and those with food allergy might be due to differences in the nature of the antigenic stimuli, dissimilar genetic 'make-up' of the subjects, or both.
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