Immunoglobulin A deposition in jejunal mucosa of children with dermatitis herpetiformis

J Invest Dermatol. 1988 Oct;91(4):336-9. doi: 10.1111/1523-1747.ep12475672.


Previously we have shown by indirect immunofluorescence (IF) technique that a special IgA antibody in the sera of patients with dermatitis herpetiformis (DH) binds to the structures of the normal jejunum. Now we show by direct IF that specific IgA deposits are present in the proximal jejunum of 11/12 DH and 2/2 celiac patients before a gluten-free diet (GFD). The IgA deposition was in a tubular pattern underlying the villous and crypt epithelial basement membranes and in the lamina propria. This IgA deposition diminished or was not detectable in DH patients under a GFD for a year, and became detectable under gluten challenge in three DH patients. One patient with celiac disease and IgA deficiency, four with other intestinal diseases, and four without jejunal damage had neither jejunal IgA deposition nor circulating IgA anti-jejunal antibody. The deposition of IgA in the jejunum seemed to be correlated with the presence of IgA anti-jejunal antibody in the serum and with the presence of jejunal damage, but the degree of jejunal atrophy, the titer of the anti-jejunal antibody, and the intensity of jejunal IgA deposition in DH patient were not clearly related. Deposition of IgA in the jejunum in DH did not clearly correlate with the activity of the skin symptoms and thus may not be directly related to the pathogenesis of the skin disease of DH.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Autoantibodies / analysis
  • Celiac Disease / immunology
  • Celiac Disease / pathology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dermatitis Herpetiformis / diet therapy
  • Dermatitis Herpetiformis / immunology*
  • Dermatitis Herpetiformis / pathology
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Glutens / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin A / metabolism*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / immunology*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / pathology
  • Jejunal Diseases / immunology*
  • Jejunal Diseases / pathology
  • Male


  • Autoantibodies
  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Glutens