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Deficiency of invariant NK T-cells in coeliac disease
  1. Randall H Grose (randall.grose{at}imvs.sa.gov.au)
  1. The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Australia
    1. Adrian G Cummins (adrian.cummins{at}nwahs.sa.gov.au)
    1. The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Australia
      1. Fiona M Thompson (fiona.thompson{at}nwahs.sa.gov.au)
      1. The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Australia

        Abstract

        Background: Immunoregulatory invariant (i)NK T cells rapidly produce interleukin (IL)-4 and other cytokines that suppress a TH1 response and are deficient in some autoimmune diseases.

        Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate any deficiency of iNK T cells in coeliac disease.

        Methods: Blood was collected from 86 subjects with coeliac disease and from 152 healthy control subjects for Vα24+ T cells by flow cytometry. iNK T cells were assessed by Vα24 and α-galactosylceramide/CD1d tetramer markers in 23 normal and 13 coeliac subjects. Intracellular IL-4 was measured after anti-CD3 antibody stimulation. Duodenal biopsies were obtained in a subgroup of coeliac and control subjects for Vα24 mRNA expression using relative PCR and for Vα24+ T cells by immunofluorescence.

        Results: The mean numbers of circulating Vα24+ T cells and iNK T cells in coeliac disease were 27% (P<0.001) and 16% (P<0.001), respectively, of levels in control subjects. After in vitro anti-CD3 stimulation, numbers of IL-4+ producing iNK T cells from coeliac subjects did not change, whereas they increased by 21% in control subjects. In coeliac subjects, Vα24 mRNA intestinal expression was reduced to 17% (P<0.001) by relative PCR and numbers of intestinal Vα24+ T cells were 16% (P<0.01), respectively, of levels in control subjects.

        Conclusions: We conclude that Vα24+ T cells and iNK T cells are deficient in coeliac disease. We speculate that this deficiency could contribute to the failure of immunological oral tolerance that seems to underlie this disease.

        • NK T-cells
        • coeliac disease

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