This study looked at the effect of extra dietary gluten on the intestinal architecture of both normal mice and those with an ongoing mucosal delayed hypersensitivity reaction. BDF1 normal mice and mice in which a graft v host reaction (GvHR) had been induced, both weaned on gluten free diet, were allocated for three weeks to three different dietary regimens: gluten free, 'normal' (3.6% gluten), and gluten enriched (15.8% gluten). In normal mice receiving the gluten containing diet, shorter villi, deeper crypts, and higher crypt cell production rate were noted when compared with those receiving gluten free diet: these changes were more pronounced in those receiving the gluten enriched diet. GvHR mice showed shorter villi and an increase in both crypt length and crypt cell production rate when compared with normal mice, but the presence of gluten in their diet did not produce additional damage. Both in normal and in GvHR mice receiving gluten containing diet there were no signs of systemic (cell mediated or humoral) or mucosal immune reactions (raised intraepithelial lymphocyte counts or enhanced epithelial Ia expression) to gliadin. In conclusion, increasing the dietary gluten content produces significant changes in the mucosal architecture of normal mice; mice with GvHR enteropathy do not show additional damage resulting from dietary gluten.
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