Expression of interleukin-4 and interferon-gamma in the small bowel of patients with dermatitis herpetiformis and isolated gluten-sensitive enteropathy.
Although possessing a morphologically similar small bowel abnormality to patients with isolated gluten-sensitive enteropathy (GSE), patients with dermatitis herpetiformis (DH) have few gastrointestinal symptoms and exhibit blistering skin lesions and cutaneous IgA deposits. To determine whether clinical discrepancies between these gluten-sensitive conditions might be the result of different patterns of small bowel cytokine expression, duodenal biopsies were obtained from eight DH patients and nine isolated GSE patients. Biopsies were evaluated for interleukin-4 (IL-4) and interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) expression by reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (message) and immunohistochemistry (protein). In DH patients, most of whom had no gut symptoms, IFN-gamma mRNA expression was significantly less than in isolated GSE patients with symptomatic gut disease. Conversely, IL-4 mRNA expression in DH patients was greater than that found among isolated GSE patients. These findings suggest that the different clinical phenotypes of gluten sensitivity may be caused by variation in cytokine expression in the small bowel response to gluten.
Smith, AD; Bagheri, B; Streilein, RD; Hall, RP
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