celiac disease manifests itself in the small intestine. A distinct pattern of abnormalities has been observed [comments in braces have been added by Jim Lyles]:
- Villous atrophy [partial or complete flattening of the finger-like projections in the small intestine]
- Hyperplasia of the crypts of Lieberkuhn [the crypts under the villi become highly elongated when compared with normal crypts]
- Increased plasma cell and lymphocyte infiltration of the lamina propria [more lymphocytes under the epithelial or outer layer of the villi. Lymphocytes are the cells that fight off viruses, etc.]
- Increased intraepithelial lymphocytes [more lymphocytes within the epithelial cells. The epithelial cells form the outer layer of the intestine and allow nutrients to pass through from the intestine into the bloodstream]
- Abnormalities in the epithelial cells which become flattened, cuboidal, and pseudo- stratified [layered].