OBJECTIVES: Several immune-mediated gastrointestinal disorders, including celiac disease (CD), are associated with neuroendocrine cell hyperplasia. However, neuroendocrine cells have never been explored in refractory CD (RCD).
METHODS: Serial duodenal sections from 17 patients with RCD (6 type 1 and 11 type 2), 16 uncomplicated CD patients before and after gluten-free diet, 14 patients with potential CD, 27 patients with non-CD villous atrophy, i.e., common variable immunodeficiency (n=12), Whipple's disease (n=10) and giardiasis (n=5), and 16 healthy subjects were processed for the immunohistochemical detection of chromogranin A (CgA), serotonin, and somatostatin. Mucosal tryptophan hydroxylase (TpH)-1 and serotonin-selective reuptake transporter (SERT) transcripts were measured by quantitative reverse transcription-PCR. Serum CgA and 24-h urine 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) were assessed. Biopsies from treated CD patients were cultured with serotonin or peptic tryptic digest of gliadin (PT-gliadin), and interferon (IFN)-γ was detected by ELISA in culture supernatants.
RESULTS: Epithelial cells positive for CgA and serotonin, but not somatostatin, were significantly increased in RCD. Raised mucosal transcripts of TpH-1, but not SERT, were found in RCD. On biopsies from treated CD patients, serotonin upregulated IFN-γ production at levels comparable to those induced by PT-gliadin. Serum CgA, but not urine 5-HIAA, was increased in RCD. No significant difference was found between RCD type 1 and type 2 in terms of neuroendocrine cells, mucosal TpH-1 transcripts, and serum CgA.
CONCLUSIONS: Serotonin-producing neuroendocrine cells are increased in RCD mucosa. IFN-γ upregulation induced by serotonin suggests that this monoamine may have a role in sustaining the local inflammatory response in CD.
- Biopsy, Needle
- Case-Control Studies
- Celiac Disease/pathology
- Diet, Gluten-Free
- Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
- Intestinal Mucosa/metabolism
- Middle Aged
- Neuroendocrine Cells/cytology
- RNA, Messenger/metabolism
- Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
- Reference Values
- Retrospective Studies
- Statistics, Nonparametric
- Treatment Failure