Ubiquitin expression in coeliac disease
Biopsy-sections of the small intestine of established coeliac patients were investigated by immunoperoxidase procedures, using monoclonal antibodies to detect the presence of ubiquitin, a heat shock protein, to find out the role, if any, of this protein in the pathogenesis of coeliac disease. Sections from each case stained with haematoxylin and eosin were available for assessment of mucosal morphology. The epithelial cells of the small intestine appeared to stain relatively more for ubiquitin compared to non-coeliac patients. From these observations, we suggest the following: ubiquitin, a stress response protein, seems to play a role either in the pathogenesis or pathophysiology of coeliac disease, an inappropriate stress response involving this protein within the mucosa itself may be crucial as an initiating event in the architectural derangement of the mucosal damage associated with coeliac disease; ubiquitin acts probably as a cross-reacting antigen in the work up to the mucosal damage possibly via a local autoimmune process involving the activation of helper T cells against alpha-gliadin in coeliac patients; ubiquitin expression may be associated with cell death or autophagy during mucosal atrophy in coeliac disease.
JOURNAL OF THE GHANA SCIENCE ASSOCIATION Volume 2 No. 1 (2000) pp. 12-17