TCR Vbeta expression in the small bowel of patients with dermatitis herpetiformis and gluten sensitive enteropathy. Limited expression in dermatitis herpetiformis and treated asymptomatic gluten sensitive enteropathy.
Dermatitis herpetiformis (DH) is a blistering skin disease characterized by cutaneous deposits of IgA and an associated, most often asymptomatic, gluten sensitive enteropathy (GSE). Gluten sensitive enteropathy is also seen in patients that do not have skin disease or cutaneous IgA deposits, but do have significant gastrointestinal (GI) complaints. Patients with DH and with GSE without skin disease have similar small bowel morphologic changes and HLA associations and both the skin disease and the GI symptoms can be controlled by a gluten free diet. It is not known what factors allow almost all patients with DH to continue to eat gluten and not develop symptomatic gastrointestinal disease. We have examined the expression of the Vbeta T-cell receptor (TCR) in the small bowel of patients with DH (n=11) and of patients with both symptomatic (n=10) and asymptomatic (n=7) GSE without skin disease to determine if differences in the pattern of TCR Vbeta expression are associated with differences in the clinical manifestations of these diseases. TCR Vbeta expression was analyzed using RT-PCR from small bowel biopsies. Patients with DH and those with GSE without skin disease that were on a gluten free diet and asymptomatic were found to express 6.6 and 5.6 out of 20 Vbeta families respectively, with no single family preference. Examination of peripheral blood lymphocytes from these patients did not reveal any restriction of TCR Vbeta family expression. In contrast, patients with symptomatic GSE expressed 12.6 Vbeta families (P< 0.05), with no consistent preferential expression of any single Vbeta family between patients. Patients with DH, who are continuing to ingest wheat, show a more restricted pattern of TCR Vbeta utilization, similar to that of treated patients with GSE without skin disease, and significantly different from GSE without skin disease patients eating gluten. These findings suggest that the restricted nature of the TCR Vbeta expression may play a role in the different clinical manifestations of dermatitis herpetiformis and isolated gluten sensitive enteropathy.
Hall, RP; Owen, S; Smith, A; Keough, M; Bagheri, B; Church, P; Streilein, R
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