We previously developed an in vitro organ culture system in which gluten exerts a toxic effect on intestinal mucosa of patients with active gluten-sensitive enteropathy. Gluten generally inhibits the epithelial cell maturation of intestinal biopsy specimens that otherwise occurs if the tissue is cultured for 24-48 h in a gluten-free medium. However, small intestinal mucosa from 15-20% of patients with proven gluten-sensitive enteropathy fails to manifest the expected gluten-induced damage in vitro. In the present study, we explored the relation between in vitro gluten-induced intestinal damage and the presence of HLA-B8. We determined whether the patients' histocompatibility type (HLA-B8 positive or negative) influenced the ability of gluten protein to inhibit epithelial cell maturation of cultured intestinal biopsy specimens from patients with gluten-sensitive enteropathy.
Z. M. Falchuk, D. L. Nelson, A. J. Katz, J. E. Bernardin, D. D. Kasarda, N. E. Hague, W. Strober