Histological evaluation of duodenal biopsies from coeliac patients: The need for different grading criteria during follow-up

Luca Elli, Enea Zini, Carolina Tomba, Maria Teresa Bardella, Silvano Bosari, Dario Conte, Letterio Runza, Leda Roncoroni, Stefano Ferrero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Coeliac disease is characterised by villous atrophy, which usually normalises after gluten withdrawal. Sometimes the revaluation of duodenal histology is required during follow-up, even if the methodology for comparing duodenal histology before and after introducing a gluten-free diet is not yet established. Our aim was to evaluate a novel criterion to compare duodenal histology in coeliac disease before and after gluten withdrawal. Methods: Duodenal biopsies from coeliac patients were retrospectively reviewed to compare duodenal histology at diagnosis and after at least one year on a gluten-free diet. Two different methods were used: the first was represented by the classical Marsh-Oberhuber score, the second compared the areas covered by each Marsh-Oberhuber grade and expressed as percentages, the final grade being calculated from the analysis of ten power fields per duodenal biopsy. Results: Sixty-nine patients (17 males 52 females, age at diagnosis 36±15 years) who underwent duodenal biopsies, were considered. According to the classical Marsh-Oberhuber scale, 32 patients did not present atrophy during follow-up while 37 showed duodenal atrophy, among whom 26 improved the grade of severity and 11 retained the same one. Of these latter, according to the second method, eight patients were considered improved, two showed a worsened duodenal damage and only one remained unchanged; the evaluation changed in 91 % of cases. Conclusions: The proposed semi-quantitative approach (i.e. the second method) for the evaluation of histology at follow-up provides additional information about the progression/regression of the mucosal damage.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBMC Gastroenterology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 14 2015


  • Coeliac Disease
  • Histopathology
  • Malabsorption
  • Small Intestine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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