Virchows Archiv

, Volume 463, Issue 3, pp 409–413 | Cite as

Anti-TCR gamma antibody in celiac disease: the value of count on formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded biopsies.

  • Silvia Lonardi
  • Vincenzo Villanacci
  • Luisa Lorenzi
  • Alberto Lanzini
  • Francesco Lanzarotto
  • Nice Carabellese
  • Umberto Volta
  • Fabio Facchetti
Original Article


Small bowel intraepithelial lymphocytosis (IL) may depend from different causes, including celiac disease (CD). Demonstration of increased number of duodenal T cell receptor gamma-delta (TCRγδ) positive intraepithelial lymphocytes (IELs) has been used to support CD diagnosis on frozen material. This work evaluates a new commercially available anti-TCRγ antibody on formalin-fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) small bowel biopsies. Anti-CD3 and anti-TCR CγM1 (clone γ3.20) from Thermo Scientific were applied by immunohistochemistry on 59 FFPE biopsies from 18 cases of CD with mild/severe atrophy, 19 cases of IL in CD patients on gluten-free diet (IL-GFD), 14 cases of IL (6/14 with positive CD-related serology), and 8 controls (CTR) with mild duodenitis and negative CD serology and genotyping. IELs/100 epithelial cells were counted in at least six high power fields. CD3+ and TCRγ+ IELs were significantly higher in CD, IL-GFD, and IL compared with CTR, but in contrast to CD3+ IELs, TCRγ+ IELs were significantly increased in CD and IL-GFD compared with IL. Furthermore, TCRγ+ IELs discriminated between IL with negative and positive CD-related serology (p = 0.02). TCRγ+ IELs can be identified on FFPE samples and their evaluation adds useful information for the work-up of small bowel biopsies in CD diagnosis. In fact, TCRγ staining coupled with CD3, may represent an additional tool to recognize cases of latent/potential CD when serology and clinical data are not conclusive or when the histological diagnosis remains equivocal.


TCRγδ Celiac disease Intraepithelial lymphocytosis Latent celiac disease TCR CγΜ1 



SL is supported by “Borsa di studio Prof Roberto Tosoni” (Garda Vita, BCC del Garda). All authors approved the final version of the article, including the authorship list.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no competing financial interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Silvia Lonardi
    • 1
  • Vincenzo Villanacci
    • 1
  • Luisa Lorenzi
    • 1
  • Alberto Lanzini
    • 2
  • Francesco Lanzarotto
    • 2
  • Nice Carabellese
    • 3
  • Umberto Volta
    • 4
  • Fabio Facchetti
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Molecular and Translational Medicine, Section of PathologyUniversity of BresciaBresciaItaly
  2. 2.Gastroenterology UnitSpedali Civili-University of BresciaBresciaItaly
  3. 3.Immunology UnitSpedali CiviliBresciaItaly
  4. 4.Department of Medical and Surgical SciencesSt. Orsola-Malpighi HospitalBolognaItaly

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