Celiac.com 12/28/2009 - A team of researchers recently set out to compare continual monitoring of intraepithelial lymphocyte immunophenotype and clonality against snapshot analysis in the surveillance of refractory celiac disease. The research team was made up of H. Liu, R. Brais, A. Lavergne-Slove, Q. Jeng, K. Payne K, H. Ye, Z. Liu, J. Carreras, Y. Huang, C. M. Bacon, R. Hamoudi, V. Save, L. Venkatraman, P. G. Isaacson, J. Woodward, and M. Q. Du of Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, UK.

Often, people with refractory celiac disease suffer from abnormal immunophenotype and monoclonality of intraepithelial lymphocytes (IELs). No good studies have been done to compare the utility of continual monitoring of IEL immunophenotype and clonality in monitoring refractory celiac disease (RCD).

To address this deficiency, and to gather some data for comparison, the team used CD3e/CD8 double immunohistochemistry and PCR-based clonality analysis of the rearranged TCR genes to evaluate diagnostic and follow-up biopsies from 33 people with proven celiac disease, 7 with suspected refractory celiac disease, 41 with proven refractory celiac disease, and 20 with enteropathy associated T-cell lymphoma (including 11 evolved from RCD).

The team found aberrant immunophenotype (CD3epsilon(+)CD8(-) IEL >/=40%) and monoclonality in occasional celiac disease biopsies, either transiently in celiac patients not following a gluten free diet, or in those who later developed refractory celiac disease, suspected RCD, or enteropathy associated T-cell lymphoma (EATL). By comparison, they found aberrant immunophenotype and monoclonality respectively in 30 of 41 (73%) and 24 of 37 (65%) biopsies at the time of diagnosis for refractory celiac disease.

Among the patients with refractory celiac disease showed no such abnormalities in their diagnostic biopsies, 8 of 10 (80%) and 5 of 11 (45%) cases showed aberrant immunophenotype and monoclonality respectively upon follow-up. Whether found in initial or follow-up biopsies, the ongoing development of both aberrant immunophenotype and monoclonality is a common facet of refractory celiac disease.

One key point was that the presence of both persistent monoclonality and aberrant immunophenotype, especially <>/=>80% CD3epsilon(+)CD8(-) IEL, was a strong predictor of enteropathy associated T-cell lymphoma development in patients with RCD (P=0.001).

From these findings, the team found concludes that the continual monitoring of both immunophenotype and clonality of IEL is superior to snapshot analysis for diagnosis and follow-up of refractory celiac disease, and could provide a useful tool for surveillance of patients at risk of developing EATL.

Source:
Gut. 2009 Dec 8.

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