Celiac.com 07/31/2014 - Although the adverse mucosal reaction in celiac disease occurs mainly in the small intestine, other mucosal surfaces in the gastrointestinal tract and the gut-associated lymphoid tissue are also affected. To better understand the impact, a research team recently set out to examine histopathological findings in the oral mucosa of celiac disease patients.

Photo: Tasmanian Devil--Wikimedia Commons--Wayne McLeanSpecifically, based on the assumption that the oral mucosa could reflect the histopathological intestinal inflammation seen in celiac disease patients, they wanted to determine the pattern of T-cell subsets in the oral mucosa of young adults with celiac disease. The research team included E. Bardellini, F. Amadori, A. Ravelli, M. Salemme, S. Lonardi, V. Villanacci, and A. Majorana.

For their study, they enrolled a group of 37 patients with celiac disease, ranging in age from 20-38 years. Twenty-eight were female, nine male. The team broke the 37 subjects into two groups. The nineteen patients of group A were following a gluten free diet (GFD); two patients for less than one year; 6 patients between 1 and 5 years; 11 patients more than 5 years. The 18 patients (group B) remained untreated.

Meanwhile, fifteen healthy volunteers (age range 18-35 years, 11 females and 4 males served as controls. Because the study involved observing untreated celiac patients, the team sought and received ethical approval for the research from the Ethics Committee.

The team took biopsy specimens from normal looking oral mucosa. They conducted immunohistochemical investigation with monoclonal antibodies to CD3, CD4, CD8, and gamma/delta-chains T cell receptor (TCR).

They found T-lymphocytic inflammatory infiltrate significantly higher in group B (p < 0.0001); as compared with group A and with the control group.

Their results confirm that the oral cavity is involved with adverse reactions to celiac disease triggers, and might offer potential for celiac diagnosis.

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