(Auto)immune responsiveness in chronic inflammatory disease and malignancy
01 / 1999 - unknown
The laboratory of medical immunology at the Vrije Universiteit hospital is primarily involved in the development and evaluation of in vitro parameters for in vivo immune functions in patients with chronic inflammatory disease, autoimmunity and malignancy. In addition, conditions determining individual (auto)immune responsiveness are being studied, such as nutritional status, hormonal status, trauma and malignancy. The development of reproducible and standardized assays for antibodies to endomysium and tissue transglutaminase, the main endomysial antigen, enabled studies on the occurrence of coeliac disease in high risk groups, such as Down syndrome, and on the early development of the disease in apparently healthy children. In patients with coeliac disease, autoantibodies to endomysium turned out to provide a highly sensitive and specific diagnostic marker, although in patients with minor intestinal damage (partial villous atrophy), these antibodies are less frequently found (Rostami et al, 1999). Nevertheless endomysial antibodies, and also the recently evaluated transglutaminase antibodies, provide a sensitive method for screening healthy young children in the general population. When screening 6000 healthy young children it came out that the prevalence of unrecognized coeliac disease may well be as high as 1:200. Follow-up studies are ongoing and will reveal the benefit of a gluten-free diet in this group (Csizmadia et al,1999).