Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 57, Issue 12, pp 3116–3125 | Cite as

Effect of Addition of Short Course of Prednisolone to Gluten-Free Diet on Mucosal Epithelial Cell Regeneration and Apoptosis in Celiac Disease: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial

  • Shalimar
  • Prasenjit Das
  • Vishnubhatla Sreenivas
  • Siddhartha Datta Gupta
  • Subrat K. Panda
  • Govind K. Makharia
Original Article



Identification of adjuvant treatment is necessary for rapid and effective treatment in patients with celiac disease. In a pilot randomized controlled trial, the effect of prednisolone on enterocyte apoptosis and regeneration in celiac disease was investigated.

Patients and Methods

Thirty-three treatment-naïve patients with celiac disease were randomized to either gluten-free diet (GFD, n = 17) or GFD + prednisolone (1 mg/kg for 4 weeks, n = 16). Duodenal biopsies were taken at baseline and at 4 and 8 weeks posttreatment. Six patients with functional dyspepsia were recruited as controls. All these biopsies were stained for markers of intrinsic apoptotic pathway (AIF, H2AX, p53), common apoptotic pathway (CC3, M30), apoptotic inhibitors (XIAP, Bcl2), and epithelial proliferation (Ki-67). Apoptotic (AI) and proliferation indices (PI) were compared.


At baseline duodenal biopsies, the end apoptotic products H2AX and M30 were significantly increased. In comparison with those treated with GFD alone, after 4 weeks of GFD + prednisolone treatment, some markers of both intrinsic and common apoptotic pathways showed rapid decline. After prednisolone withdrawal, there was overexpression of H2AX, CC3, and p53 in the latter group. In comparison with those treated with only GFD, patients treated with prednisolone showed suppression of mucosal PI, which started rising again after withdrawal of prednisolone.


Apoptosis takes place in mucosal epithelium in celiac disease. Addition of short course of prednisolone suppresses apoptosis rapidly. However, it also suppresses epithelial regeneration; hence, if used, it should be withdrawn after an initial short course. (Registered at clinicaltrials.gov; NCT01045837)


Gluten-free diet Prednisolone Immunohistochemistry Apoptotic index Cell regeneration Apoptosis 


Conflict of interest


Supplementary material

10620_2012_2294_MOESM1_ESM.doc (30 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 30 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shalimar
    • 1
  • Prasenjit Das
    • 2
  • Vishnubhatla Sreenivas
    • 3
  • Siddhartha Datta Gupta
    • 2
  • Subrat K. Panda
    • 2
  • Govind K. Makharia
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Gastroenterology and Human NutritionAll India Institute of Medical SciencesNew DelhiIndia
  2. 2.Department of PathologyAll India Institute of Medical SciencesNew DelhiIndia
  3. 3.Department of BiostatisticsAll India Institute of Medical SciencesNew DelhiIndia

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