Aim: To evaluate the effect of cyclosporin treatment on clinical and histological parameters in adult patients with refractory coeliac disease.
Methods: Thirteen patients were treated with oral cyclosporin for 2 months, aiming at serum levels of 100-200 ng/mL. Seven extended medication intake up to a maximum of 12 months. Before and after treatment, clinical parameters were monitored and small intestinal biopsies taken. Ten of 13 patients were typed for HLA-DQA1 and -DQB1 alleles.
Results: Eight of 13 patients responded histologically to cyclosporin treatment. Normalization of villi was demonstrated in five patients, three after prolonged treatment. Eight patients reported a clinical response, of whom six had concomitant histological improvement. No serious side-effects of cyclosporin were noticed. Nine of 10 patients who were immunogenetically typed carried the coeliac disease associated serologic DQ2 markers, one carried neither DQ2 nor DQ8 markers.
Conclusion: In our study group of 13 adult refractory coeliac disease patients, cyclosporin in therapeutic doses induced a histological improvement in eight patients (61%), in five of whom (38%) normalization of villi was demonstrated. Thus, we believe that cyclosporin is a therapeutic option in refractory coeliac disease, although we could not confirm earlier reports of unconditional successful treatment.