Which histologic findings are characteristic of celiac disease (sprue)?

Updated: Nov 29, 2019
  • Author: Stephan U Goebel, MD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Celiac disease primarily involves the mucosa of the small intestine. The submucosa, muscularis, and serosa are usually not involved. The villi are atrophic or absent with a decreased villous-to-crypt ratio (normal ratio, 4-5:1) and crypts are hyperplastic. The cellularity of the lamina propria is increased with a proliferation of plasma cells and lymphocytes. The number of intraepithelial lymphocytes per unit length of absorptive epithelium is increased (normal intraepithelial lymphocyte to epithelial cell ratio, 1:10).

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