A retrospective study was conducted to assess the association of alpha-gliadin antibodies with intraepithelial lymphocyte counts. Twelve subjects with apparently normal small intestinal histology and raised alpha-gliadin antibody titres had significantly increased intraepithelial lymphocyte counts (42 (SEM) 5.9) when compared with 16 subjects with normal alpha-gliadin antibody titres (17 (3.2); p less than 0.001). These findings show that in the absence of gross pathology raised alpha-gliadin antibody titres are associated with increased numbers of intraepithelial lymphocytes and may reflect continuous immunological processes in the small intestine.
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