We measured cytofluorometrically the concentration of 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT, serotonin) of individual enterochromaffin (EC) cells in adult coeliac and non-coeliac small intestinal mucosa. The distributions of 5-HT concentration within populations of EC cells in control and coeliac mucosae were log normal and thus contained one single population of EC cells. The median 5-HT concentration per EC cell, and the number of EC cells both increased in coeliac disease, but showed signs of normalisation when gluten was withdrawn from the diet. The results indicate that, besides inducing EC cell hyperplasia, gluten is capable of producing reversible changes in functions of EC cells in adult coeliac disease.
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