Specific autoantibodies to gut epithelium in two infants with severe protracted diarrhoea

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 1985 Apr;4(2):187-95. doi: 10.1097/00005176-198504000-00006.


Two male infants with severe protracted diarrhoea presenting at 4 months (patient 1) and 10 weeks (patient 2) of age are reported. In both patients jejunal biopsy showed subtotal villous atrophy. Both had specific complement-fixing autoantibodies reacting by immunofluorescence with human duodenal, jejunal, and colonic epithelium. Patient 1 also had hypothyroidism and type 1 diabetes mellitus with thyroid and islet cell autoantibodies. His gut antibodies were of IgG class, reached a titre of 1:512, and remained positive throughout his illness. He died at 16 months of age. Patient 2 had gut antibodies of IgM class, which reached a titre of 1:128 and disappeared at the time of spontaneous recovery of the diarrhoea. The findings suggest that an autoimmune process was the basis for the enteropathy in these patients. We recommend that autoantibody tests should be performed in infants with unexplained protracted diarrhoea.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Antibody Specificity
  • Autoantibodies / analysis*
  • Biopsy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / immunology
  • Diarrhea, Infantile / immunology*
  • Diarrhea, Infantile / pathology
  • Epithelium / immunology
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Histocompatibility Testing
  • Humans
  • Hypothyroidism / immunology
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Immunoglobulin G / analysis
  • Immunoglobulin M / analysis
  • Infant
  • Intestines / immunology*
  • Jejunum / pathology
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Pancreas / immunology
  • Pancreatic Function Tests
  • Thyroid Function Tests
  • Time Factors


  • Autoantibodies
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin M