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Pathology of Celiac Disease

The following was taken from THE SPRUE-NIK PRESS, September 1995. The University of Maryland School of Medicine sponsored a conference on July 14-15, 1995 entitled Celiac Disease: The Dark Side of the Gastrointestinal Planet, by Salvatore Auricchio, MD, summarized by Jim Lyles. Dr. Auricchio is Professor and Chairman of Pediatrics at the University Frederico II in Naples, Italy.

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
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onclick="showHelpTip(event, 'lymphocyte

Major component of the cellular immune system (in contrast to the humoral immune system) that consists of T-Cells and B-Cells and is largely responsible for attacking intracellular organisms.'); return false">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].
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