The composition of T cell subtypes in duodenal biopsies are altered in coeliac disease patients

Janni Vagner Steenholt, Christian Nielsen, Leen Baudewijn, Anne Staal Nielsen , Karina Søndergård Rasmussen, Hardee J. Sabir, Torben Barington, Steffen Husby, Henrik Toft-Hansen

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One of the hallmarks of Celiac disease (CD) is intraepithelial lymphocytosis in the small intestine. Until now, investigations to characterize the T cell subpopulations within the epithelial layer have not discriminated between the heterodimeric co-receptor molecule, CD8αβ, and the possibly immunoregulatory CD8αα homodimer molecule. Besides TCRαβ+ CD4+ cells, no other phenotypes have been shown to be gluten-reactive. Using flow cytometry on lymphocytes from duodenal biopsies, we determined that the number of B cells (CD3- CD19 +) and the number of CD3+ CD4- CD8- double-negative (DN) T cells were elevated 6-7 fold in children with CD. We next isolated and quantified intraepithelial lymphocytes (IELs) from biopsies obtained from patients (both children and adults) with CD, potential CD and non-CD controls. Flow cytometric analysis of the duodenal T cell subpopulations was performed including the markers TCRαβ, TCRγδ, CD4, CD8α and CD8β. Proportions of γδ T cells and CD8αβ+ cells among IELs were increased in CD patients, whereas proportions of CD4+ CD8αα+ and CD4+ single-positive T cells were decreased. Additionally, two gluten-reactive T cell lines (TCLs) derived from CD biopsies were analyzed for changes in proportions of T cell subsets before and after gluten stimulation. In a proliferation assay, dividing cells were tracked with carboxyfluorescein succinimidyl ester (CFSE), and both αβ and γδ T cells proliferated in response to gluten. Changes in duodenal T cell subpopulations in potential CD patients followed the same pattern as for CD patients, but with less pronounced effect.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0170270
Issue number2
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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