Selective reduction of intestinal trefoil factor in untreated coeliac disease

C. Ciacci, D. Di Vizio, R. Seth, G. Insabato, G. Mazzacca, D. K. Podolsky, Y. R. Mahida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The trefoil factor family (TFF) encompasses small peptides of which intestinal trefoil factor (ITF) is expressed specifically in goblet cells of the small and large intestine. Previous studies have shown that ITF plays an important role in mucosal protection and repair. Coeliac disease represents a model of immune-mediated small intestinal inflammation and damage, with recovery on gluten-free diet. The aim of this study was to investigate the expression of ITF in the distal duodenal mucosa of subjects with coeliac disease, before and after treatment with a gluten-free diet. Expression of ITF and mucin in the distal duodenal biopsies from treated (n = 11) and untreated (n = 9) coeliac subjects and controls (n = 8) was investigated by immunohistochemistry and semiquantitative PCR. In untreated coeliac disease, there was reduction of ITF immunoreactivity in goblet cells but mucin expression was preserved. Mucosal recovery on gluten-free diet was associated with increased ITF immunoreactivity in goblet cells. There was also reduction in the expression of ITF transcripts, relative to MUC2 mRNA, in untreated coeliac duodenal samples, with recovery on gluten-free diet. Our study suggests that there is a selective reduction in the expression of the ITF gene in untreated coeliac disease. Recovery of ITF expression on a gluten-free diet suggests that the mucosal immune system regulates goblet cell differentiation and ITF expression in the human intestinal mucosa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)526-531
Number of pages6
JournalClinical and Experimental Immunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002


  • Gluten-sensitive enteropathy
  • Goblet cells
  • Trefoil peptides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


Dive into the research topics of 'Selective reduction of intestinal trefoil factor in untreated coeliac disease'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this