Glycoprotein biosynthesis by jejunal mucosa was examined during culture in vitro in 26 patients with coeliac disease and 19 controls. The incorporation rates of tritiated glucosamine into tissue and secreted glycoproteins were determined using established techniques. The total glucosamine incorporation in untreated coeliac patients was significantly greater than that of histologically normal mucosa (p less than 0.001) and jejunal tissue from patients with treated coeliac disease (p less than 0.01). Enhanced secretion of in vitro labelled glycoproteins was observed in untreated coeliac patients. The total incorporation of tritiated glucosamine in intestinal tissues was correlated with goblet cell numbers. These results indicate that quantitative changes in glycoprotein synthesis and secretion occur in coeliac disease.
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