Histopathology of celiac disease

Biomed Pharmacother. 2000 Aug;54(7):368-72. doi: 10.1016/S0753-3322(01)80003-2.


The diagnosis of celiac disease (CD) is based upon histologic findings in duodenal or jejunal biopsies. In the past few years it has turned out that the development of CD lesion in the small bowel is a dynamic process which may present in various histologic forms. At one end of the spectrum is a mucosa with normal architecture and an increase in intraepithelial lymphocytes (IEL), at the other end is the classical flat mucosa. Histologic features supporting the diagnosis of CD are architectural changes of the villi and/or crypts, an increase in lamina propria cell density and an increase in IEL counts. For diagnostic purposes and for monitoring CD patients an exact histologic classification of the histologic findings has to be given. This has become possible by using a modified Marsh classification. In the present paper the histologic presentation of CD is presented as well as the modified Marsh classification.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Celiac Disease / diagnosis
  • Celiac Disease / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / pathology