Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Effect of diet and age on jejunal and circulating lymphocyte subsets in children with coeliac disease: persistence of CD4-8-intraepithelial T cells through treatment.
  1. M A Verkasalo,
  2. A Arató,
  3. E Savilahti,
  4. V M Tainio
  1. Children's Hospital, University of Helsinki, Finland.


    Monoclonal antibodies were used to determine the relative numbers of T lymphocyte subsets in 61 jejunal biopsies and in peripheral blood of 35 children with coeliac disease, and of 13 healthy controls. The T cell numbers in the lamina propria were unaffected by a change from gluten-free to gluten containing diet in the patients. The number of intraepithelial lymphocytes (where the CD8 cells predominated) were significantly raised in patients taking gluten. Ten to 20% of the patients' intraepithelial CD3 (mature T) cells expressed neither CD8 nor CD4 surface antigens. This CD4 8 T cell population persisted through gluten elimination and challenge. The circulating lymphocyte subsets showed little variation with the diet although there was a marked increase in the proportion (14.9%) of CD4 8 T cells in patients during gluten elimination. In the histologically normal jejunal mucosa from control subjects, the age of the subject showed a positive correlation with villus intraepithelial CD3+ and CD8+ cells, and crypt intraepithelial CD4+ cells. No clear cut effect of age was observed on lamina propria lymphocyte counts of the controls, or on the lymphocyte counts in jejunal mucosa of the coeliac patients. The observed CD3+4-8- lymphocytes may represent activated cells unable to present their surface antigens, or they may be gamma delta-receptor bearing T cells, which could have a significant role in the pathogenesis of coeliac disease.

    Statistics from

    Request Permissions

    If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.