Background & aims: Celiac disease is characterized by disturbed jejunal crypt-villus axis biology with immunoglobulin (Ig) A deposits underlining the epithelium. The aim of this study was to test whether celiac disease serum IgA (reticulin/endomysial autoantibodies) interferes with the mesenchymal-epithelial cell cross-talk.
Methods: Differentiation of T84 epithelial cells was induced with IMR-90 fibroblasts or transforming growth factor beta in three-dimensional collagen gel cultures. The effects of purified celiac IgA and monoclonal tissue transglutaminase antibodies (CUB7402) were studied by adding the antibodies to the cocultures.
Results: Active celiac disease IgA, reactive for tissue transglutaminase, significantly inhibited T84 epithelial cell differentiation (P < 0.001) and increased epithelial cell proliferation (P = 0.024). Similar effects were obtained with antibodies against tissue transglutaminase.
Conclusions: Celiac disease-associated IgA class antibodies disturb transforming growth factor beta-mediated fibroblast-epithelial cell cross-talk in this in vitro crypt-villus axis model. This primary finding indicates that celiac disease-specific autoantibodies may also contribute to the formation of the gluten-triggered jejunal mucosal lesion in celiac disease.