Assessment of the gluten-induced small-intestinal mucosal injury remains the cornerstone of celiac disease diagnosis. Usually the injury is evaluated using grouped classifications (e.g. Marsh groups), but this is often too imprecise and ignores minor but significant changes in the mucosa. Consequently, there is a need for validated continuous variables in everyday practice and in academic and pharmacological research.
We studied the performance of our standard operating procedure (SOP) on 93 selected biopsy specimens from adult celiac disease patients and non-celiac disease controls. The specimens, which comprised different grades of gluten-induced mucosal injury, were evaluated by morphometric measurements. Specimens with tangential cutting resulting from poorly oriented biopsies were included. Two accredited evaluators performed the measurements in blinded fashion. The intraobserver and interobserver variations for villus height and crypt depth ratio (VH:CrD) and densities of intraepithelial lymphocytes (IELs) were analyzed by the Bland-Altman method and intraclass correlation.
Unevaluable biopsies according to our SOP were correctly identified. The intraobserver analysis of VH:CrD showed a mean difference of 0.087 with limits of agreement from −0.398 to 0.224; the standard deviation (SD) was 0.159. The mean difference in interobserver analysis was 0.070, limits of agreement −0.516 to 0.375, and SD 0.227. The intraclass correlation coefficient in intraobserver variation was 0.983 and that in interobserver variation 0.978. CD3+ IEL density countings in the paraffin-embedded and frozen biopsies showed SDs of 17.1% and 16.5%; the intraclass correlation coefficients were 0.961 and 0.956, respectively.
Using our SOP, quantitative, reliable and reproducible morphometric results can be obtained on duodenal biopsy specimens with different grades of gluten-induced injury. Clinically significant changes were defined according to the error margins (2SD) of the analyses in VH:CrD as 0.4 and in CD3+-stained IELs as 30%.
To investigate the role of thioredoxin (TRX), a novel regulator of extracellular transglutaminase 2 (TG2), in celiac patients IgA (CD IgA) mediated TG2 enzymatic activation.
TG2 enzymatic activity was evaluated in endothelial cells (HUVECs) under different experimental conditions by ELISA and Western blotting. Extracellular TG2 expression was studied by ELISA and immunofluorescence. TRX was analysed by Western blotting and ELISA. Serum immunoglobulins class A from healthy subjects (H IgA) were used as controls. Extracellular TG2 enzymatic activity was inhibited by R281. PX12, a TRX inhibitor, was also employed in the present study.
We have found that in HUVECs CD IgA is able to induce the activation of extracellular TG2 in a dose-dependent manner. Particularly, we noted that the extracellular modulation of TG2 activity mediated by CD IgA occurred only under reducing conditions, also needed to maintain antibody binding. Furthermore, CD IgA-treated HUVECs were characterized by a slightly augmented TG2 surface expression which was independent from extracellular TG2 activation. We also observed that HUVECs cultured in the presence of CD IgA evinced decreased TRX surface expression, coupled with increased secretion of the protein into the culture medium. Intriguingly, inhibition of TRX after CD IgA treatment was able to overcome most of the CD IgA-mediated effects including the TG2 extracellular transamidase activity.
Altogether our findings suggest that in endothelial cells CD IgA mediate the constitutive activation of extracellular TG2 by a mechanism involving the redox sensor protein TRX.
Immunoglobulin A (IgA) autoantibodies to tissue transglutaminase (tTG) are commonly used for screening and diagnosing of celiac disease (CD). Seroreactivity for anti-Saccharomyces cerevisiae antibody (ASCA) and bacterial antigens have also been detected in CD patients. The aim of this study was to examine prospectively serologic responses to microbial targets in adult CD patients at the time of diagnosis and during a gluten-free diet (GFD). Further, we wanted to evaluate whether these serologic specificities could provide new tools for the follow-up of CD patients.
Data on 55 adult biopsy-proven CD patients were available for follow-up study. Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy was performed on all patients. Sera from patients were tested for antibodies to tTG and ASCA and additionally analyzed with IgA enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays to Pseudomonas fluorescens-associated sequence, I2, and to a Bacteroides caccae TonB-linked outer membrane protein, OmpW.
At the time of diagnosis, 91% of CD cases were positive for tTG and 49% for ASCA; positive seroreactivity to I2 was found in 86% and to OmpW in 60% of CD patients at the time of diagnosis. The frequency of seropositivity and serum levels of these antibodies decreased during GFD. Moreover, we found that the decline in the serum levels was significant in all of these markers (p<0.005). Interestingly, we also found that serum levels of ASCA correlated with the grade of mucosal morphology (p=0.021), as the ASCA serum levels declined in accordance with mucosal healing.
Commensal enteric bacteria seem to play a role in the small intestinal mucosal damage in CD. This was proven by the serological responses to different microbial antigens shown in this study. Serum levels of ASCA, anti-I2, and anti-OmpW antibodies decreased significantly during GFD, indicating that these serologic markers are gluten dependent in CD patients. These specificities could provide new tools in the follow-up of CD patients.
Celiac disease; gluten-free diet; ASCA; I2; OmpW
A characteristic feature of celiac disease is the presence of circulating autoantibodies targeted against transglutaminase 2 (TG2), reputed to have a function in angiogenesis. In this study we investigated whether TG2-specific autoantibodies derived from celiac patients inhibit angiogenesis in both ex vivo and in vivo models and sought to clarify the mechanism behind this phenomenon. We used the ex vivo murine aorta-ring and the in vivo mouse matrigel-plug assays to address aforementioned issues. We found angiogenesis to be impaired as a result of celiac disease antibody supplementation in both systems. Our results also showed the dynamics of endothelial cells was affected in the presence of celiac antibodies. In the in vivo angiogenesis assays, the vessels formed were able to transport blood despite impairment of functionality after treatment with celiac autoantibodies, as revealed by positron emission tomography. We conclude that celiac autoantibodies inhibit angiogenesis ex vivo and in vivo and impair vascular functionality. Our data suggest that the anti-angiogenic mechanism of the celiac disease-specific autoantibodies involves extracellular TG2 and inhibited endothelial cell mobility.
Evidence suggests that many coeliac disease patients suffer from persistent clinical symptoms and reduced health-related quality of life despite a strict gluten-free diet. We aimed to find predictors for these continuous health concerns in long-term treated adult coeliac patients.
In a nationwide study, 596 patients filled validated Gastrointestinal Symptom Rating Scale and Psychological General Well-Being questionnaires and were interviewed regarding demographic data, clinical presentation and treatment of coeliac disease, time and place of diagnosis and presence of coeliac disease-associated or other co-morbidities. Dietary adherence was assessed by a combination of self-reported adherence and serological tests. Odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were calculated by binary logistic regression.
Diagnosis at working age, long duration and severity of symptoms before diagnosis and presence of thyroidal disease, non-coeliac food intolerance or gastrointestinal co-morbidity increased the risk of persistent symptoms. Patients with extraintestinal presentation at diagnosis had fewer current symptoms than subjects with gastrointestinal manifestations. Impaired quality of life was seen in patients with long duration of symptoms before diagnosis and in those with psychiatric, neurologic or gastrointestinal co-morbidities. Patients with persistent symptoms were more likely to have reduced quality of life.
There were a variety of factors predisposing to increased symptoms and impaired quality of life in coeliac disease. Based on our results, early diagnosis of the condition and consideration of co-morbidities may help in resolving long-lasting health problems in coeliac disease.
Coeliac disease; Symptoms; Quality of life; Gluten-free diet; Adults
Enterovirus infections have been linked to type 1 diabetes in several studies. Enteroviruses also have tropism to pancreatic islets and can cause β-cell damage in experimental models. Viral persistence has been suspected to be an important pathogenetic factor. This study evaluates whether gut mucosa is a reservoir for enterovirus persistence in type 1 diabetic patients. Small-bowel mucosal biopsy samples from 39 type 1 diabetic patients, 41 control subjects, and 40 celiac disease patients were analyzed for the presence of enterovirus using in situ hybridization (ISH), RT-PCR, and immunohistochemistry. The presence of virus was compared with inflammatory markers such as infiltrating T cells, HLA-DR expression, and transglutaminase 2–targeted IgA deposits. Enterovirus RNA was found in diabetic patients more frequently than in control subjects and was associated with a clear inflammation response in the gut mucosa. Viral RNA was often detected in the absence of viral protein, suggesting defective replication of the virus. Patients remained virus positive in follow-up samples taken after 12 months’ observation. The results suggest that a large proportion of type 1 diabetic patients have prolonged/persistent enterovirus infection associated with an inflammation process in gut mucosa. This finding opens new opportunities for studying the viral etiology of type 1 diabetes.
Approximately 1% of the population suffer from coeliac disease. However, the disease is heavily underdiagnosed. Unexplained symptoms may lead to incremented medical consultations and productivity losses. The aim here was to estimate the possible concealed burden of untreated coeliac disease and the effects of a gluten-free diet.
A nationwide cohort of 700 newly detected adult coeliac patients were prospectively evaluated. Health care service use and sickness absence from work during the year before diagnosis were compared with those in the general population; the data obtained from an earlier study. Additionally, the effect of one year on dietary treatment on the aforementioned parameters and on consumption of pharmaceutical agents was assessed.
Untreated coeliac patients used primary health care services more frequently than the general population. On a gluten-free diet, visits to primary care decreased significantly from a mean 3.6 to 2.3. The consumption of medicines for dyspepsia (from 3.7 to 2.4 pills/month) and painkillers (6.8-5.5 pills/month) and the number of antibiotic courses (0.6-0.5 prescriptions/year) was reduced. There were no changes in hospitalizations, outpatient visits to secondary and tertiary care, use of other medical services, or sickness absence, but the consumption of nutritional supplements increased on treatment.
Coeliac disease was associated with excessive health care service use and consumption of drugs before diagnosis. Dietary treatment resulted in a diminished burden to the health care system and lower use of on-demand medicines and antibiotic treatment. The results support an augmented diagnostic approach to reduce underdiagnosis of coeliac disease.
Coeliac disease; Gluten-free diet; Burden of illness; Health care service use; Sickness absence
Celiac disease is an inflammatory enteropathy caused by intolerance to gluten. Previous linkage studies in the Dutch, Finnish and Hungarian populations have revealed a locus on chromosome 6q21-22 conferring susceptibility to celiac disease. This locus has previously been implicated in susceptibility to other autoimmune diseases such as Crohn's disease and type 1 diabetes. We performed fine mapping on 446 independent individuals with celiac disease and 641 controls of Dutch origin, testing 872 tagging SNPs in a 22 Mb region of chromosome 6. The 12 most promising SNPs were followed up in 2071 individuals from 284 Finnish and 357 Hungarian celiac disease families to identify risk variants in this region. Multiple markers in the region were significantly associated with celiac disease in the Dutch material. Two SNPs, rs9391227 and rs4946111, were significantly associated with celiac disease in the Finnish population. The association to rs9391227 represents the strongest association signal found in the Finnish (P=0.003, OR 0.66) as well as the combined Dutch, Finnish and Hungarian populations (P=3.6 × 10−5, OR 0.76). The rs9391227 is situated downstream of the HECT domain and ankyrin repeat containing, E3 ubiquitin protein ligase 1 (HACE1) gene and is contained within a region of strong linkage disequilibrium enclosing HACE1. Two additional, independent, susceptibility variants in the 6q21-22 region were also found in a meta-analysis of the three populations. The 6q21-22 region was confirmed as a celiac disease susceptibility locus and harbors multiple independent associations, some of which may implicate ubiquitin-pathways in celiac disease susceptibility.
Celiac; linkage; association; genome-wide; 6q21-22
AIM: To investigate the association between serum antibody levels and a subsequent celiac disease diagnosis in a large series of children and adults.
METHODS: Besides subjects with classical gastrointestinal presentation of celiac disease, the study cohort included a substantial number of individuals with extraintestinal symptoms and those found by screening in at-risk groups. Altogether 405 patients underwent clinical, serological and histological evaluations. After collection of data, the antibody values were further graded as low [endomysial (EmA) 1:5-200, transglutaminase 2 antibodies (TG2-ab) 5.0-30.0 U/L] and high (EmA 1: ≥ 500, TG2-ab ≥ 30.0 U/L), and the serological results were compared with the small intestinal mucosal histology and clinical presentation.
RESULTS: In total, 79% of the subjects with low and 94% of those with high serum EmA titers showed small-bowel mucosal villous atrophy. Furthermore, 96% of the 47 EmA positive subjects who had normal mucosal villi and remained on follow-up either subsequently developed mucosal atrophy while on a gluten-containing diet, or responded positively to a gluten-free diet.
CONCLUSION: Irrespective of the initial serum titers or clinical presentation, EmA positivity as such is a very strong predictor of a subsequent celiac disease diagnosis.
Celiac disease; Diagnosis; Endomysial antibodies; Transglutaminase 2 antibodies; Clinical presentations
Background and Objective. Previous small studies suggest that chronic atrophic gastritis is common in dermatitis herpetiformis (DH). We here examined the frequency and topography of chronic gastritis in 93 untreated DH subjects and in 186 controls with dyspepsia. Methods. Specimens were drawn from the gastric corpus and antrum and examined for atrophy, intestinal metaplasia, and Helicobacter pylori. Duodenal biopsies were taken. Results. Atrophic corpus gastritis was more frequent in DH than in controls (16.0% and 2.7%, resp., P < 0.001); atrophy in the antrum was rare in both groups (3.2% and 1.1%, P = 0.34). Intestinal metaplasia was present in 13 (14.0%) DH and 12 (6.5%) control patients (P = 0.038) and H. pylori in 17 (18.3%) and 17 (9.3%) (P = 0.028), respectively. Small-bowel villous atrophy was seen in 76% of the DH patients, equally in patients with and without chronic gastritis. One DH patient with atrophic gastritis developed gastric cancer. Conclusion. In DH, chronic atrophic gastritis was common in the corpus, but not in the antrum. H. pylori will partly explain this, but corpus atrophy is suggestive of an autoimmune etiology. Atrophic gastritis may increase the risk of gastric cancer. We advocate performing upper endoscopy with sufficient histologic samples in DH.
A decade ago celiac disease was considered extremely rare outside Europe and, therefore, was almost completely ignored by health care professionals. In only 10 years, key milestones have moved celiac disease from obscurity into the popular spotlight worldwide. Now we are observing another interesting phenomenon that is generating great confusion among health care professionals. The number of individuals embracing a gluten-free diet (GFD) appears much higher than the projected number of celiac disease patients, fueling a global market of gluten-free products approaching $2.5 billion (US) in global sales in 2010. This trend is supported by the notion that, along with celiac disease, other conditions related to the ingestion of gluten have emerged as health care concerns. This review will summarize our current knowledge about the three main forms of gluten reactions: allergic (wheat allergy), autoimmune (celiac disease, dermatitis herpetiformis and gluten ataxia) and possibly immune-mediated (gluten sensitivity), and also outline pathogenic, clinical and epidemiological differences and propose new nomenclature and classifications.
The utility of serologic screening for celiac disease is still debatable. Evidence suggests that the disorder remains undetected even in the older population. It remains obscure whether screening makes good or harm in subjects with long-standing gluten ingestion. We evaluated whether older subjects benefit from active detection and subsequent gluten free dietary treatment of celiac disease.
Thirty-five biopsy-proven patients aged over 50 years had been detected by serologic mass screening. We examined the disease history, dietary compliance, symptoms, quality of life and bone mineral density at baseline and 1-2 years after the commencement of a gluten-free diet. Symptoms were evaluated by gastrointestinal symptom rating scale and quality of life by psychological general well-being questionnaires. Small bowel biopsy, serology, laboratory parameters assessing malabsorption, and bone mineral density were investigated.
Dietary compliance was good. The patients had initially low mean serum ferritin values indicating subclinical iron deficiency, which was restored by a gluten-free diet. Vitamin B12, vitamin D and erythrocyte folic acid levels increased significantly on diet. Celiac patients had a history of low-energy fractures more often than the background population, and the diet had a beneficial effect on bone mineral density. Alleviation in gastrointestinal symptoms was observed, even though the patients reported no or only subtle symptoms at diagnosis. Quality of life remained unchanged. Of all the cases, two thirds would have been diagnosed even without screening if the family history, fractures or concomitant autoimmune diseases had been taken carefully into account.
Screen-detected patients benefited from a gluten-free diet. We encourage a high index of suspicion and active case-finding in celiac disease as an alternative to mass screening in older patients.
Due to the restrictive nature of a gluten-free diet, celiac patients are looking for alternative therapies. While drug-development programs include gluten challenges, knowledge regarding the duration of gluten challenge and gluten dosage is insufficient.
We challenged adult celiac patients with gluten with a view to assessing the amount needed to cause some small-bowel mucosal deterioration.
Twenty-five celiac disease adults were challenged with low (1-3 g) or moderate (3-5g) doses of gluten daily for 12 weeks. Symptoms, small-bowel morphology, densities of CD3+ intraepithelial lymphocytes (IELs) and celiac serology were determined.
Both moderate and low amounts of gluten induced small-bowel morphological damage in 67% of celiac patients. Moderate gluten doses also triggered mucosal inflammation and more gastrointestinal symptoms leading to premature withdrawals in seven cases. In 22% of those who developed significant small- intestinal damage, symptoms remained absent. Celiac antibodies seroconverted in 43% of the patients.
Low amounts of gluten can also cause significant mucosal deterioration in the majority of the patients. As there are always some celiac disease patients who will not respond within these conditions, sample sizes must be sufficiently large to attain to statistical power in analysis.
New diagnostic criteria for coeliac disease are warranted
We performed a second-generation genome wide association study of 4,533 celiac disease cases and 10,750 controls. We genotyped 113 selected SNPs with PGWAS<10−4, and 18 SNPs from 14 known loci, in a further 4,918 cases and 5,684 controls. Variants from 13 new regions reached genome wide significance (Pcombined<5×10−8), most contain immune function genes (BACH2, CCR4, CD80, CIITA/SOCS1/CLEC16A, ICOSLG, ZMIZ1) with ETS1, RUNX3, THEMIS and TNFRSF14 playing key roles in thymic T cell selection. A further 13 regions had suggestive association evidence. In an expression quantitative trait meta-analysis of 1,469 whole blood samples, 20 of 38 (52.6%) tested loci had celiac risk variants correlated (P<0.0028, FDR 5%) with cis gene expression.
Celiac disease may emerge at any age, but little is known of its appearance in elderly people. We evaluated the prevalence of the condition in individuals over 55 years of age, and determined the incidence of biopsy-proven celiac disease (CDb) and celiac disease including seropositive subjects for anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies (CDb+s).
The study based on prevalence figures in 2815 randomly selected subjects who had undergone a clinical examination and serologic screening for celiac disease in 2002. A second screening in the same population was carried out in 2005, comprising now 2216 individuals. Positive tissue transglutaminase antibodies were confirmed with small bowel biopsy.
Within three years the prevalence of CDb increased from 2.13 to 2.34%, and that of CDb+s from 2.45 to 2.70%. Five new cases were found among patients previously seronegative; two had minor abdominal symptoms and three were asymptomatic. The incidence of celiac disease in 2002–2005 was 0.23%, giving an annual incidence of 0.08% in this population.
The prevalence of celiac disease was high in elderly people, but the symptoms were subtle. Repeated screening detected five biopsy-proven cases in three years, indicating that the disorder may develop even in the elderly. Increased alertness to the disorder is therefore warranted.
Association of the interleukin-23 receptor (IL23R) with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has been confirmed in several populations. IL23R also associates with psoriasis, suggesting that the gene may be an important candidate for many chronic inflammatory diseases.
We studied association of single-nucleotide variants in IL23R with IBD in Swedish patients, in both Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC) subsets. The same genetic variants were also studied in Finnish patients with psoriasis or celiac disease, and in Hungarian and Italian patients with celiac disease.
Association of IL23R with IBD was replicated in our Swedish patients, and linkage and association of the IL23R region with psoriasis was found in the Finnish population. The IL23R region was also linked to celiac disease in Finnish families, but no association of IL23R variants with celiac disease was found in the Finnish, Hungarian or Italian samples.
Our study is the first to demonstrate association of IL23R with CD and UC in Swedish patients with IBD. It is also the first study to report linkage and association of the IL23R region with psoriasis in the Finnish population. Importantly, this is the first report of linkage of the IL23R region to celiac disease, a chronic inflammatory condition in which IL23R has not been previously implicated.
In celiac disease gluten, the disease-inducing toxic component in wheat, induces the secretion of autoantibodies which are targeted against transglutaminase 2 (TG2). These autoantibodies are produced in the small-intestinal mucosa, where they can be found deposited extracellularly below the epithelial basement membrane and around mucosal blood vessels. In addition, during gluten consumption these autoantibodies can also be detected in patients' serum but disappear from the circulation on a gluten-free diet. Interestingly, after adoption of a gluten-free diet the serum autoantibodies disappear from the circulation more rapidly than the small-intestinal mucosal autoantibody deposits. The toxicity of gluten and the secretion of the disease-specific autoantibodies have been widely studied in organ culture of small-intestinal biopsy samples, but results hitherto have been contradictory. Since the mucosal autoantibodies disappear slowly after a gluten-free diet, our aim was to establish whether autoantibody secretion to organ culture supernatants in treated celiac disease patient biopsies is related to the duration of the diet and further to the pre-existence of mucosal TG2-specific IgA deposits in the cultured biopsy samples.
In the organ culture system conducted with biopsies derived from treated celiac disease patients, gliadin induced secretion of autoantibodies to culture supernatants, reduced epithelial cell height and increased the density of lamina proprial CD25+ cells. However, these changes could be demonstrated only in biopsies from short-term treated celiac disease patients, where the small-intestinal mucosal TG2-specific IgA autoantibody deposits were still present. Furthermore, in these biopsies autoantibody secretion could be stimulated fully only after a 48-hour gliadin challenge.
Our results show that studies focusing on the toxic effects of gliadin in the organ culture system should be carried out with biopsy samples from short-term treated celiac disease patients who are likely still to have mucosal IgA deposits present. In addition to providing an explanation for the discrepancies in previous publications, the present study also enables further validation of the organ culture method.
Objective To evaluate the feasibility and diagnostic accuracy of screening for coeliac disease by rapid detection of IgA antibodies to tissue transglutaminase performed in primary care.
Design District nurses screened 6 year old children using rapid antibody testing of finger prick blood. They also collected capillary blood samples for laboratory determination of IgA and IgG antibodies to endomysium and IgA antibodies to tissue transglutaminase. Children with positive rapid test results were directly sent for biopsy of the small intestine.
Setting Primary care in Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok county, Hungary.
Participants 2690 children (77% of 6 year olds living in the county) and 120 nurses.
Main outcome measures Positivity for antibodies to endomysium or transglutaminase in the laboratory and coeliac disease confirmed at biopsy.
Results 37 children (1.4%, 95% confidence interval 0.9% to 1.8%) had biopsy confirmed coeliac disease. Only five of these children had been diagnosed clinically before screening. Rapid testing had a 78.1% sensitivity (70.0% to 89.3%) and 100% specificity (88.4% to 100%) for a final diagnosis of coeliac disease by biopsy. Sensitivity was 65.1% (50.2% to 77.6%) and specificity was 100% (99.8% to 100%) compared with combined results of IgA and IgG laboratory tests. Trained laboratory workers detected 30 of the 31 newly diagnosed IgA competent patients with the rapid test kit used blindly. Median time to biopsy after a positive rapid test result was significantly shorter (20 days, range 4-148) than after a positive laboratory result (142 days, 70-256; P<0.001). Children with coeliac disease detected at screening were smaller and had worse health status than their peers but they improved on a gluten-free diet.
Conclusions A simple rapid antibody test enabled primary care nurses to detect patients with coeliac disease in the community who were not picked up in clinical care. Extra training is needed to improve sensitivity.
The TGFβ1-induced signal transduction processes involved in growth and differentiation are only partly known. The three-dimensional epithelial differentiation model, in which T84 epithelial cells are induced to differentiate either with TGFβ1 or IMR-90 mesenchymal cell-secreted soluble factors, is previously shown to model epithelial cell differentiation seen in intestine. That model has not been used for large scale gene expression studies, such as microarray method. Therefore the gene expression changes were studied in undifferentiated and differentiated three-dimensional T84 cultures with cDNA microarray method in order to study the molecular changes and find new players in epithelial cell differentiation.
The expression of 372 genes out of 5188 arrayed sequences was significantly altered, and 47 of them were altered by both mediators. The data were validated and the altered genes are presented in ontology classes. For the genes tested the expressions in protein level were in accordance with the mRNA results. We also found 194 genes with no known function to be potentially important in epithelial cell differentiation. The mRNA expression changes induced by TGFβ1 were bigger than changes induced by soluble factors secreted by IMR-90 mesenchymal cells. The gene expression data was depicted in already known signaling pathway routes.
Our results reveal potential new signaling pathways and several new genes affected by TGFβ in epithelial cell differentiation. The differentiation induced by TGFβ1 appears to be more potent than the differentiation induced by mesenchymal cells. This study indicates that our cell culture model is a suitable tool in studying regulatory mechanisms during epithelial cell differentiation in intestine. Furthermore the present results indicate that our model is a good tool for finding new players acting in the differentiation of epithelial cells.