Diamine oxidase plasma concentrations after treatment with heparin were measured and compared with the surface to volume ratio of jejunal biopsy samples assessed by a morphometric technique in patients with untreated and treated coeliac disease and in biopsied controls. As expected, enzyme activity was significantly lower in patients with untreated coeliac disease than in patients on a gluten-free diet and in biopsied controls. No difference was found between treated patients and biopsied controls. There was a significant overall correlation between plasma enzyme activity and surface to volume ratio of jejunal mucosa, although two untreated patients without an overt malabsorption syndrome but with a very low surface to volume ratio had normal enzyme activity. This study shows that in coeliac disease plasma diamine oxidase activity after treatment with heparin does not always mirror the extent of the jejunal lesions, particularly in those patients with minimal or unrelated symptoms who would benefit most from a valid screening test to identify their condition.
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