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The team included Shalimar, P. Das, V. Sreenivas, S. Datta Gupta, S.K. Panda, and G.K. Makharia. They are with the Department of Gastroenterology and Human Nutrition at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Ansari Nagar in New Delhi, India.
For their pilot randomized, controlled trial, the team looked at thirty-three untreated patients with celiac disease. They randomly assigned 17 of them to a gluten-free diet alone, and the other 16 to a gluten-free diet + prednisolone. Gluten intake was 1 mg/kg for 4 weeks.
The team stained all biopsies for markers of intrinsic apoptotic pathway (AIF, H2AX, p53), common apoptotic pathway (CC3, M30), apoptotic inhibitors (XIAP, Bcl2), and epithelial proliferation (Ki-67). They then compared apoptotic (AI) and proliferation indices (PI).
Initial duodenal biopsies showed the end apoptotic products H2AX and M30 to be markedly higher.
After prednisolone withdrawal, there was overexpression of H2AX, CC3, and p53 in the latter group. In comparison with those treated with only GFD, patients treated with prednisolone showed suppression of mucosal PI, which started rising again after withdrawal of prednisolone.
The take away here is that a short course of prednisolone quickly suppresses apoptosis. However, it also suppresses epithelial regeneration, an so should be used only for a short time, if at all.
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