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Br Med J (Clin Res Ed). 1986 October 11; 293(6552): 908–910.
PMCID: PMC1341707

Humoral response to wheat protein in patients with coeliac disease and enteropathy associated T cell lymphoma.

Abstract

Features that might distinguish uncomplicated coeliac disease from enteropathy associated T cell lymphoma were investigated. Of 76 patients with coeliac disease, 71 (93%) had raised levels of alpha gliadin antibody and all responded clinically and histologically to treatment with a gluten free diet. In contrast, none of 16 patients with enteropathy associated T cell lymphoma had raised levels of alpha gliadin antibody, and treatment with a gluten free diet resulted in histological improvement in one and transient clinical improvement in six patients. The ratio of women to men was 2.2:1 in the group with coeliac disease and 1:1.6 in the patients with enteropathy associated T cell lymphoma. Thus patients with enteropathy associated T cell lymphoma do not display a humoral immune response to wheat protein (alpha gliadin), rarely respond to a gluten free diet, and are often men. Patients with uncomplicated coeliac disease usually have raised levels of alpha gliadin antibody, always respond to a gluten free diet, and are frequently women. These findings suggest the presence of two separate forms of enteropathy: one is benign and sensitive to wheat protein whereas the other runs a malignant course.

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