Interleukin 18 maintains a long-standing inflammation in coeliac disease patients.Clin Exp Immunol. 2006 Dec; 146(3):479-85.CE
Dietary gluten induces an early response in the intestine of coeliac disease patients (CD), within a few hours, and this is driven by high levels of proinflammatory cytokines, including IFNgamma and IL-15, as has been thoroughly shown by gluten stimulation of biopsy explants. Our aim was to identify the immune mediators involved in the long-standing inflammation in untreated CD patients at diagnosis. mRNA and protein levels of TNFalpha, IL-12(p35), IL-12(p40), IL-15, IL-18 and IL-23(p19) were quantified in biopsies from active CD patients, CD patients on a gluten-free diet (GFD), healthy controls, and patients with non-CD inflammation and mild histological changes in the intestine. Biopsies from CD patients on a GFD were also stimulated in vitro with gliadin, and protein expression of IL-15 and IL-18 was analysed. Levels of IL-12 and IL-23 mRNA are nearly absent, and TNFalpha levels remain unchanged among different groups. Both the active and inactive forms of IL-18 protein have been found in all samples from active CD, and protein expression was only localized within the crypts. Levels of IL-15 mRNA remain unchanged, and protein expression, localized within the lamina propria, is found in a small number of samples. In vitro stimulation with gluten induces the expression of IL-15 and IL-18. In active CD, the early response following gluten intake characterized by high IFNgamma levels is driven by IL-18, and probably IL-15, and this alternates with periods of long-standing inflammation with moderate IFNgamma levels, maintained by IL-18 alone.