Virchows Archiv

, 459:339

Lysozyme-rich mucus metaplasia in duodenal crypts supersedes Paneth cells in celiac disease

Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00428-011-1129-3

Cite this article as:
Rubio, C.A. Virchows Arch (2011) 459: 339. doi:10.1007/s00428-011-1129-3


Lysozyme is as an innate enzyme with potent antibacterial properties found in Paneth cells in normal duodenal crypts. Since celiac disease concurs with an abnormal duodenal microbiota we explored the expression of lysozyme in this disease. Fifty-three duodenal biopsies were stained with anti-lysozyme: 15 had normal duodenal mucosa (NDM), 7 chronic active duodenitis (CAD), 3 borderline (BL), 17 subtotal villous atrophy (SVA) and 11 total villous atrophy (TVA). NDM showed lysozyme-positive Paneth cells arranged in “Indian file” in 93.3%. In contrast, lysozyme-positive mucus metaplasia in crypts (LPMMC) replacing Paneth cells was found in 71.5% in CAD, in 96.4% in SVA/TVA, and in 2 cases with B. In 19.3% cases with BL/SVA/TVA, LPMMC replaced all Paneth cells in all crypts in entire sections. In crypts and villi, lysozyme-positive goblet cells (LPGC) were found in 92.8%. Changes were more frequent in the duodenal bulb than in pars descendens. In normal duodenal mucosa, absorptive enterocytes and goblet cells migrate from stem cells upwards, while Paneth cells migrate downwards, towards the base of the crypts. In celiac disease stem cells seem to have been re-programmed, as the normal production of Paneth cells in the crypts was replaced by lysozyme-producing mucus cells. LPMMC and LPGC in celiac disease might mirror an antimicrobial adaptation of stem cells to signals generated by pathogenic duodenal bacteria. The molecular mechanism(s) behind the abrogation of Paneth cells in duodenal crypts and its substitution by LPMMC in celiac disease remains to be elucidated.


Celiac disease Crypts Panneth cells Mucus metaplasia 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PathologyKarolinska Institute and University HospitalStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Gastrointestinal and Liver Pathology Research Laboratory, Department of PathologyKarolinska Institute and University HospitalStockholmSweden

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