Serum level and gene expression of interleukin-15 Do not correlate with villous atrophy in celiac disease patients

Elham Aghamohamadi, Parviz Kokhaei, Mohammad Rostami-Nejad, Fatemeh Pak, Kamran Rostami, Afshin Moradi, Mohamad Amin Pourhoseingholi, Vahid Chaleshi, Andrea Masotti, Mohammad Reza Zali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Aims: Interleukin-15 (IL-15) is a key player in the pathogenesis of celiac disease (CD). We investigated the functional role of IL-15 in the process of epithelial cell phenotypic modification at different stages of CD. Materials and Methods: In this study, we looked for correlations between the IL-15 mRNA levels in duodenal tissue and serum protein levels in a cohort of Iranian patients affected by CD based on the degree of histopathology. Ninety-five formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded duodenal tissue specimens were collected: 23 with a Marsh I value; 30 with a Marsh II value; 32 with a Marsh III value; and 10 normal controls. The expression levels of the IL-15 gene in these biopsy specimens were determined by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), and IL-15 serum protein concentrations were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and compared to tissue expression. Results: The IL-15 mRNA levels were higher in patients with Marsh II compared with the control group, and the Marsh I, and Marsh III groups. The differences between the Marsh II and Marsh I patients were statistically significant (p = 0.03). Similarly, the serum concentration of IL-15 was higher in Marsh II patients compared to those with Marsh I and Marsh III lesions, although the differences were not statistically significant (p = 0.221). Conclusions: Our results demonstrate that IL-15 gene expression might be elevated only in the early stages of CD onset (and histological damage) and that IL-15 serum levels do not significantly correlate with its tissue expression whatever the degree of histopathology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)502-507
Number of pages6
JournalGenetic Testing and Molecular Biomarkers
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2020


  • celiac disease
  • histopathology
  • interleukin-15
  • marsh classification
  • paraffin-embedded tissues

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)


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