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    Liver Damage, Celiac Disease and the Intestinal Mucosa by Roy Jamron


    Roy Jamron

    Celiac.com 04/27/2006 - Liver abnormalities have been found in a high percentage of celiacs when first diagnosed, around 42% according to some studies. Gluten toxicity and increased intestinal permeability have both been suspected as a cause of liver abnormalities. Serious liver disorders, including cirrhosis, have been found in association with a number of celiac disease cases which appear to resolve upon treatment and maintaining a gluten-free diet. It is not clear whether some damage to the liver may remain long term even after maintaining a gluten-free diet. Below is an interesting study (Hepatology. 2006 Mar 23;43(4):837-846) of the effects of induced liver cirrhosis on the intestinal mucosa which results in oxidative stress and an alteration of intestinal permeability, intestinal bacteria makeup, and bacterial overgrowth. Hence not only does damage to the intestine in response to gluten often result in bacterial overgrowth, but damage to the liver by gluten may also contribute to bacterial overgrowth and mucosal alterations.


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    Damage to the liver caused by celiac disease may also have other consequences, as the liver plays many important roles including storage and production of important compounds and proteins and the removal of fat soluble toxic substances. As we are increasingly exposed to endocrine disrupting xenobiotic environmental chemicals and toxic substances, a dysfunctional livers inability to remove fat soluble toxic substances may leave celiacs more susceptible to adverse effects from these chemicals which can accumulate in adipose (fatty) tissue. In the Winter 2006 issue of Scott Adams' Celiac.com Newsletter, I discuss in detail, in Unraveling Fibromyalgia, how a dysfunctional liver and fat soluble toxic substances accumulating in innervated and vascularlized adipose tissue in the vicinity of joints may be the cause of fibromyalgia. Bacterial overgrowth has also been found in association with fibromyalgia. But clearly, lesser degrees of fatigue, muscle and joint pain, thyroid disorders, and other symptoms could also result from liver dysfunction caused by celiac disease. The inability of the liver to remove xenobiotic chemicals may also increase the risk of breast and other cancers.

    Recently a new review on liver disorders and celiac disease has appeared (See below - World J Gastroenterol 2006 March 14;12(10): 1493-1502 and 1503-1508): Liver Damage and the Intestinal Mucosa. One cannot ignore the secondary effects and symptoms that liver damage may add to those symptoms caused by glutens effect on the intestinal mucosa. Those unexplained aches and pains and other symptoms and disorders which have frequently been reported by some celiacs may be a result of liver dysfunction.

    Some notes: Elevated liver enzymes are the result of liver enzymes released by damaged liver cells. The article cites one study stating A gluten-free diet for 1 to 10 years resulted in complete normalization of liver chemistry tests in 95% patients. Normal liver chemistry tests DO NOT necessarily mean that the liver is functioning normally and that no damage remains. See: Special Considerations in Interpreting Liver
    Function Tests - http://www.aafp.org/afp/990415ap/2223.html

    Referenced Abstracts:

    Hepatology. 2006 Mar 23;43(4):837-846

    Intestinal mucosal alterations in rats with carbon tetrachloride-induced cirrhosis: Changes in glycosylation and luminal bacteria.

    Natarajan SK, Ramamoorthy P, Thomas S, Basivireddy J, Kang G, Ramachandran A, Pulimood AB, Balasubramanian KA.

    The Wellcome Trust Research Laboratory, Department of Gastrointestinal Sciences, Christian Medical College, Vellore, India.

    Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis is a major cause of mortality after liver cirrhosis. Altered permeability of the mucosa and deficiencies in host immune defenses through bacterial translocation from the intestine due to intestinal bacterial overgrowth have been implicated in the development of this complication. Molecular mechanisms underlying the process are not well known. In order to understand mechanisms involved in translocation of bacteria, this study explored the role of oxidative stress in mediating changes in intestinal mucosal glycosylation and luminal bacterial content during cirrhosis. CCl(4)-induced cirrhosis in rats led to prolonged oxidative stress in the intestine, accompanied by increased sugar content of both intestinal brush border and surfactant layers. This was accompanied by changes in bacterial flora in the gut, which showed increased hydrophobicity and adherence to the mucosa. Inhibition of xanthine oxidase using sodium tungstate or antioxidant supplementation using vitamin E reversed the oxidative stress, changes in brush border membrane sugar content, and bacterial adherence. In conclusion, oxidative stress in the intestine during cirrhosis alters mucosal glycosylation, accompanied by an increased hydrophobicity of luminal bacteria, enabling increased bacterial adherence onto epithelial cells. This might facilitate translocation across the mucosa, resulting in complications such as spontaneous bacterial peritonitis.

    World J Gastroenterol 2006 March 14;12(10):1503-1508

    Hepatobiliary and pancreatic disorders in celiac disease

    Hugh James Freeman

    Free full text:

    A variety of hepatic and biliary tract disorders may complicate the clinical course of celiac disease. Some of these have been hypothesized to share common genetic factors or have a common immunopathogenesis, such as primary biliary cirrhosis, primary sclerosing cholangitis and autoimmune forms of hepatitis or cholangitis. Other hepatic changes in celiac disease may be associated with malnutrition resulting from impaired nutrient absorption, including hepatic steatosis. In addition, celiac disease may be associated with rare hepatic complications, such as hepatic T-cell lymphoma. Finally, pancreatic exocrine function may be impaired in celiac disease and represent a cause of treatment failure.

    World J Gastroenterol 2006 March 14;12(10):1493-1502

    Gut flora and bacterial translocation in chronic liver disease

    John Almeida, Sumedha Galhenage, Jennifer Yu, Jelica Kurtovic, Stephen M

    Riordan

    Free full text:

    Increasing evidence suggests that derangement of gut flora is of substantial clinical relevance to patients with cirrhosis. Intestinal bacterial overgrowth and increased bacterial translocation of gut flora from the intestinal lumen, in particular, predispose to an increased potential for bacterial infection in this group. Recent studies suggest that, in addition to their role in the pathogenesis of overt infective episodes and the clinical consequences of sepsis, gut flora contributes to the pro-inflammatory state of cirrhosis even in the absence of overt infection. Furthermore, manipulation of gut flora to augment the intestinal content of lactic acid-type bacteria at the expense of other gut flora species with more pathogenic potential may favorably influence liver function in cirrhotic patients. Here we review current concepts of the various inter-relationships between gut flora, bacterial translocation, bacterial infection, pro-inflammatory cytokine production and liver function in this group.

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    Guest Rhonda Jared

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    Well written, technical, but understandable. Doctors should be made aware of the celiac disease-liver relationship. I'm making a copy for my own doc.

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    Guest Christine

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    Well written, technical, but understandable. Doctors should be made aware of the celiac disease-liver relationship. I'm making a copy for my own doc.

    I was an undiagnosed celiac for 20 years. The results are 2 premature babies, the bone density of an 80 year old woman, migraines, and this article has made it clear where my fatty liver disease has come from. I've read extensively on celiac research but want to know can it be reversed and what other lifestyle changes do I need to make to recover from this. So much excellent research now on the 'why' but what we need is the 'how'.

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    Guest Sandy

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    I was diagnosed at 46 with celiac disease, found because of elevated liver enzymes by myself. When I went off gluten, my enzymes returned to normal for a while and now are creeping back up to a high normal number. I also had my gallbladder removed and had what they called gallbladder disease without the gallbladder. This article has helped me a lot in understanding my problem now and I wish the doctor would read this article as well. Thank you

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  • Related Articles

    Roy Jamron
    Celiac.com 05/31/2006 - I previously discussed how liver abnormalities are highly prevalent in celiac disease. Why damage to the liver occurs is unknown, and gluten toxicity and increased intestinal permeability have been proposed as factors. The following free full text article appearing in the current issue of Gastroenterology may shed light on why liver damage occurs in celiacs.
    Toll-like receptors (TLRs) reside on the surface of many cells which participate in the immune system. TLRs sense molecules present in pathogens but not the host, and when the immune system senses these molecules, chemicals are released which set off inflammatory and anti-pathogen responses. One class of molecules recognized by TLRs and common to most pathogenic bacteria is lipopolysaccharides (LPS).
    Gluten increases intestinal permeability in celiacs. The disruption of the intestinal barrier permits endotoxins, such as LPS, from gut bacteria to reach the portal vein of the liver triggering a TLR response from immune cells in the liver. Proinflammatory mediators are released cascading into the release of more chemicals leading to inflammation and liver damage. This may be the cause of liver damage in celiacs. Gluten itself could also trigger a liver immune response. Kupffer cells in the liver are capable of antigen presentation to T cells, along with liver dendritic cells, and could initiate a T cell response to gluten within the liver.
    The following article is somewhat technical, but discusses the role of various liver cells involved in the immune process and how intestinal permeability and TLRs contribute to liver injury. The article is a good read and provides valuable information about the liver I have not seen elsewhere.
    Gastroenterology Volume 130, Issue 6, Pages 1886-1900 (May 2006)
    Toll-Like Receptor Signaling in the Liver
    Robert F. Schwabe, Ekihiro Seki, David A. Brenner
    Free Full Text:
    http://www.gastrojournal.org/article/PIIS0016508506000655/fulltext

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    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 06/19/2018 - Could baking soda help reduce the inflammation and damage caused by autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, and celiac disease? Scientists at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University say that a daily dose of baking soda may in fact help reduce inflammation and damage caused by autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, and celiac disease.
    Those scientists recently gathered some of the first evidence to show that cheap, over-the-counter antacids can prompt the spleen to promote an anti-inflammatory environment that could be helpful in combating inflammatory disease.
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    Read more at: Sciencedaily.com

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 06/18/2018 - Celiac disease has been mainly associated with Caucasian populations in Northern Europe, and their descendants in other countries, but new scientific evidence is beginning to challenge that view. Still, the exact global prevalence of celiac disease remains unknown.  To get better data on that issue, a team of researchers recently conducted a comprehensive review and meta-analysis to get a reasonably accurate estimate the global prevalence of celiac disease. 
    The research team included P Singh, A Arora, TA Strand, DA Leffler, C Catassi, PH Green, CP Kelly, V Ahuja, and GK Makharia. They are variously affiliated with the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts; Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi, India; Innlandet Hospital Trust, Lillehammer, Norway; Centre for International Health, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway; Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts; Gastroenterology Research and Development, Takeda Pharmaceuticals Inc, Cambridge, MA; Department of Pediatrics, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona, Italy; Department of Medicine, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York; USA Celiac Disease Center, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York; and the Department of Gastroenterology and Human Nutrition, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India.
    For their review, the team searched Medline, PubMed, and EMBASE for the keywords ‘celiac disease,’ ‘celiac,’ ‘tissue transglutaminase antibody,’ ‘anti-endomysium antibody,’ ‘endomysial antibody,’ and ‘prevalence’ for studies published from January 1991 through March 2016. 
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    Rates of celiac disease were 0.4% in South America, 0.5% in Africa and North America, 0.6% in Asia, and 0.8% in Europe and Oceania; the prevalence was 0.6% in female vs 0.4% males. Celiac disease was significantly more common in children than adults.
    This systematic review and meta-analysis showed celiac disease to be reported worldwide. Blood test data shows celiac disease rate of 1.4%, while biopsy data shows 0.7%. The prevalence of celiac disease varies with sex, age, and location. 
    This review demonstrates a need for more comprehensive population-based studies of celiac disease in numerous countries.  The 1.4% rate indicates that there are 91.2 million people worldwide with celiac disease, and 3.9 million are in the U.S.A.
    Source:
    Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2018 Jun;16(6):823-836.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2017.06.037.

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 06/16/2018 - Summer is the time for chips and salsa. This fresh salsa recipe relies on cabbage, yes, cabbage, as a secret ingredient. The cabbage brings a delicious flavor and helps the salsa hold together nicely for scooping with your favorite chips. The result is a fresh, tasty salsa that goes great with guacamole.
    Ingredients:
    3 cups ripe fresh tomatoes, diced 1 cup shredded green cabbage ½ cup diced yellow onion ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro 1 jalapeno, seeded 1 Serrano pepper, seeded 2 tablespoons lemon juice 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 2 garlic cloves, minced salt to taste black pepper, to taste Directions:
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    Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 
    Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, as desired. 
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    Dr. Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.
    Celiac.com 06/15/2018 - There seems to be widespread agreement in the published medical research reports that stuttering is driven by abnormalities in the brain. Sometimes these are the result of brain injuries resulting from a stroke. Other types of brain injuries can also result in stuttering. Patients with Parkinson’s disease who were treated with stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus, an area of the brain that regulates some motor functions, experienced a return or worsening of stuttering that improved when the stimulation was turned off (1). Similarly, stroke has also been reported in association with acquired stuttering (2). While there are some reports of psychological mechanisms underlying stuttering, a majority of reports seem to favor altered brain morphology and/or function as the root of stuttering (3). Reports of structural differences between the brain hemispheres that are absent in those who do not stutter are also common (4). About 5% of children stutter, beginning sometime around age 3, during the phase of speech acquisition. However, about 75% of these cases resolve without intervention, before reaching their teens (5). Some cases of aphasia, a loss of speech production or understanding, have been reported in association with damage or changes to one or more of the language centers of the brain (6). Stuttering may sometimes arise from changes or damage to these same language centers (7). Thus, many stutterers have abnormalities in the same regions of the brain similar to those seen in aphasia.
    So how, you may ask, is all this related to gluten? As a starting point, one report from the medical literature identifies a patient who developed aphasia after admission for severe diarrhea. By the time celiac disease was diagnosed, he had completely lost his faculty of speech. However, his speech and normal bowel function gradually returned after beginning a gluten free diet (8). This finding was so controversial at the time of publication (1988) that the authors chose to remain anonymous. Nonetheless, it is a valuable clue that suggests gluten as a factor in compromised speech production. At about the same time (late 1980’s) reports of connections between untreated celiac disease and seizures/epilepsy were emerging in the medical literature (9).
    With the advent of the Internet a whole new field of anecdotal information was emerging, connecting a variety of neurological symptoms to celiac disease. While many medical practitioners and researchers were casting aspersions on these assertions, a select few chose to explore such claims using scientific research designs and methods. While connections between stuttering and gluten consumption seem to have been overlooked by the medical research community, there is a rich literature on the Internet that cries out for more structured investigation of this connection. Conversely, perhaps a publication bias of the peer review process excludes work that explores this connection.
    Whatever the reason that stuttering has not been reported in the medical literature in association with gluten ingestion, a number of personal disclosures and comments suggesting a connection between gluten and stuttering can be found on the Internet. Abid Hussain, in an article about food allergy and stuttering said: “The most common food allergy prevalent in stutterers is that of gluten which has been found to aggravate the stutter” (10). Similarly, Craig Forsythe posted an article that includes five cases of self-reporting individuals who believe that their stuttering is or was connected to gluten, one of whom also experiences stuttering from foods containing yeast (11). The same site contains one report of a stutterer who has had no relief despite following a gluten free diet for 20 years (11). Another stutterer, Jay88, reports the complete disappearance of her/his stammer on a gluten free diet (12). Doubtless there are many more such anecdotes to be found on the Internet* but we have to question them, exercising more skepticism than we might when reading similar claims in a peer reviewed scientific or medical journal.
    There are many reports in such journals connecting brain and neurological ailments with gluten, so it is not much of a stretch, on that basis alone, to suspect that stuttering may be a symptom of the gluten syndrome. Rodney Ford has even characterized celiac disease as an ailment that may begin through gluten-induced neurological damage (13) and Marios Hadjivassiliou and his group of neurologists and neurological investigators have devoted considerable time and effort to research that reveals gluten as an important factor in a majority of neurological diseases of unknown origin (14) which, as I have pointed out previously, includes most neurological ailments.
    My own experience with stuttering is limited. I stuttered as a child when I became nervous, upset, or self-conscious. Although I have been gluten free for many years, I haven’t noticed any impact on my inclination to stutter when upset. I don’t know if they are related, but I have also had challenges with speaking when distressed and I have noticed a substantial improvement in this area since removing gluten from my diet. Nonetheless, I have long wondered if there is a connection between gluten consumption and stuttering. Having done the research for this article, I would now encourage stutterers to try a gluten free diet for six months to see if it will reduce or eliminate their stutter. Meanwhile, I hope that some investigator out there will research this matter, publish her findings, and start the ball rolling toward getting some definitive answers to this question.
    Sources:
    1. Toft M, Dietrichs E. Aggravated stuttering following subthalamic deep brain stimulation in Parkinson’s disease--two cases. BMC Neurol. 2011 Apr 8;11:44.
    2. Tani T, Sakai Y. Stuttering after right cerebellar infarction: a case study. J Fluency Disord. 2010 Jun;35(2):141-5. Epub 2010 Mar 15.
    3. Lundgren K, Helm-Estabrooks N, Klein R. Stuttering Following Acquired Brain Damage: A Review of the Literature. J Neurolinguistics. 2010 Sep 1;23(5):447-454.
    4. Jäncke L, Hänggi J, Steinmetz H. Morphological brain differences between adult stutterers and non-stutterers. BMC Neurol. 2004 Dec 10;4(1):23.
    5. Kell CA, Neumann K, von Kriegstein K, Posenenske C, von Gudenberg AW, Euler H, Giraud AL. How the brain repairs stuttering. Brain. 2009 Oct;132(Pt 10):2747-60. Epub 2009 Aug 26.
    6. Galantucci S, Tartaglia MC, Wilson SM, Henry ML, Filippi M, Agosta F, Dronkers NF, Henry RG, Ogar JM, Miller BL, Gorno-Tempini ML. White matter damage in primary progressive aphasias: a diffusion tensor tractography study. Brain. 2011 Jun 11.
    7. Lundgren K, Helm-Estabrooks N, Klein R. Stuttering Following Acquired Brain Damage: A Review of the Literature. J Neurolinguistics. 2010 Sep 1;23(5):447-454.
    8. [No authors listed] Case records of the Massachusetts General Hospital. Weekly clinicopathological exercises. Case 43-1988. A 52-year-old man with persistent watery diarrhea and aphasia. N Engl J Med. 1988 Oct 27;319(17):1139-48
    9. Molteni N, Bardella MT, Baldassarri AR, Bianchi PA. Celiac disease associated with epilepsy and intracranial calcifications: report of two patients. Am J Gastroenterol. 1988 Sep;83(9):992-4.
    10. http://ezinearticles.com/?Food-Allergy-and-Stuttering-Link&id=1235725 
    11. http://www.craig.copperleife.com/health/stuttering_allergies.htm 
    12. https://www.celiac.com/forums/topic/73362-any-help-is-appreciated/
    13. Ford RP. The gluten syndrome: a neurological disease. Med Hypotheses. 2009 Sep;73(3):438-40. Epub 2009 Apr 29.
    14. Hadjivassiliou M, Gibson A, Davies-Jones GA, Lobo AJ, Stephenson TJ, Milford-Ward A. Does cryptic gluten sensitivity play a part in neurological illness? Lancet. 1996 Feb 10;347(8998):369-71.

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 06/14/2018 - Refractory celiac disease type II (RCDII) is a rare complication of celiac disease that has high death rates. To diagnose RCDII, doctors identify a clonal population of phenotypically aberrant intraepithelial lymphocytes (IELs). 
    However, researchers really don’t have much data regarding the frequency and significance of clonal T cell receptor (TCR) gene rearrangements (TCR-GRs) in small bowel (SB) biopsies of patients without RCDII. Such data could provide useful comparison information for patients with RCDII, among other things.
    To that end, a research team recently set out to try to get some information about the frequency and importance of clonal T cell receptor (TCR) gene rearrangements (TCR-GRs) in small bowel (SB) biopsies of patients without RCDII. The research team included Shafinaz Hussein, Tatyana Gindin, Stephen M Lagana, Carolina Arguelles-Grande, Suneeta Krishnareddy, Bachir Alobeid, Suzanne K Lewis, Mahesh M Mansukhani, Peter H R Green, and Govind Bhagat.
    They are variously affiliated with the Department of Pathology and Cell Biology, and the Department of Medicine at the Celiac Disease Center, New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, New York, USA. Their team analyzed results of TCR-GR analyses performed on SB biopsies at our institution over a 3-year period, which were obtained from eight active celiac disease, 172 celiac disease on gluten-free diet, 33 RCDI, and three RCDII patients and 14 patients without celiac disease. 
    Clonal TCR-GRs are not infrequent in cases lacking features of RCDII, while PCPs are frequent in all disease phases. TCR-GR results should be assessed in conjunction with immunophenotypic, histological and clinical findings for appropriate diagnosis and classification of RCD.
    The team divided the TCR-GR patterns into clonal, polyclonal and prominent clonal peaks (PCPs), and correlated these patterns with clinical and pathological features. In all, they detected clonal TCR-GR products in biopsies from 67% of patients with RCDII, 17% of patients with RCDI and 6% of patients with gluten-free diet. They found PCPs in all disease phases, but saw no significant difference in the TCR-GR patterns between the non-RCDII disease categories (p=0.39). 
    They also noted a higher frequency of surface CD3(−) IELs in cases with clonal TCR-GR, but the PCP pattern showed no associations with any clinical or pathological feature. 
    Repeat biopsy showed that the clonal or PCP pattern persisted for up to 2 years with no evidence of RCDII. The study indicates that better understanding of clonal T cell receptor gene rearrangements may help researchers improve refractory celiac diagnosis. 
    Source:
    Journal of Clinical Pathologyhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jclinpath-2018-205023