Jejunal plasma cells and in vitro immunoglobulin production in adult coeliac disease.Clin Exp Immunol. 1987 Jul; 69(1):123-32.CE
IgA, IgE, IgG and IgM plasma cells in small bowel mucosal biopsies from 15 controls, 16 untreated and 14 treated coeliac patients and five patients with selective serum IgA deficiency (four of whom also had coeliac disease) were quantified using an indirect immunoperoxidase technique. The IgA, IgG and IgM plasma cell counts were significantly increased in the untreated coeliac patients. The cell counts were intermediate in the treated coeliac group. These changes were in parallel to production in vitro of IgA and sIgA, IgG, and IgM by cultured mucosal biopsies from the same patients. The IgA deficient patients had very few mucosal IgA cells but elevated IgG and IgM plasma cell numbers; again these changes were reflected in the production in vitro of immunoglobulins. IgE plasma cell counts were very low in all patients and there were no differences between patient groups. The changes in cell counts and mucosal immunoglobulin production were not reflected in serum IgA, IgM and IgG concentrations but serum secretory IgA was significantly elevated in the untreated coeliac patients compared with controls, with the treated coeliac patients being intermediate. The raised mucosal plasma cell counts reflect the local mucosal production of immunoglobulin but not the immunoglobulin concentrations of serum, emphasising the importance of studying the immune function of the gut itself in coeliac disease rather than immunological abnormalities in serum.