Intraepithelial lymphocytes, scores, mimickers and challenges in diagnosing gluten-sensitive enteropathy (celiac disease)

Consolato Sergi*, Fan Shen, Gerd Bouma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


The upper digestive tract is routinely scoped for several causes of malabsorption, and the number of duodenal biopsy specimens has increased notably in the last 10 years. Gluten-sensitive enteropathy (GSE) is an autoimmune disease, which shows an increasing prevalence worldwide and requires a joint clinicopathological approach. The classical histopathology of GSE with partial or total villous blunting is well recognized, but the classification of GSE is not straightforward. Moreover, several mimickers of GSE with intraepithelial lymphocytosis have been identified in the last 20 years, with drug interactions and medical comorbidities adding to the conundrum. In this review, we report on the normal duodenal mucosa, the clinical presentation and laboratory diagnosis of GSE, the duodenal intraepithelial lymphocytes and immunophenotype of GSE-associated lymphocytes, the GSE mimickers, the differences "across oceans" among guidelines in diagnosing GSE, and the use of a synoptic report for reporting duodenal biopsies in both children and adults in the 21st century.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)573-589
Number of pages17
JournalWorld Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jan 2017

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