January 1971

Intestinal Malabsorption and Immunoglobulin Deficiency

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Medicine, University of Chicago. Dr. Gelzayd is now with Providence Hospital, Detroit; Dr. McCleery is now with Hitchcock Clinic, Hanover, NH; and Dr. Melnyk is now with the University of Oregon Medical School, Portland.

Arch Intern Med. 1971;127(1):141-147. doi:10.1001/archinte.1971.00310130145027

Available evidence suggests that hypogammaglobulinemia, particularly immunoglobulin A (IgA) deficiency, may be associated with intestinal malabsorption and mild to moderate villous atrophy of the proximal jejunal mucosa.1-3 We have encountered such a patient who responded favorably in turn to a gluten-free diet and to tetracycline hydrochloride therapy administered orally. The purpose of this report is to relate the clinical and immunological findings in this case to published data from other patients with malabsorption and documented immunoglobulin deficiencies.

Methods For Special Studies  The serological and tissue techniques, as well as the method used to quantify mucosal lymphoid cells employing cell density indices (CDI), have been reported.4 The CDI are arbitrary units which represent cells per unit area of interstitium.4 In the previous study of eight specimens of normal human rectal mucosa, the CDI (mean ± SE of the mean) for IgA-, IgM- and IgG-containing lymphoid cells were 80.14

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