Intestinal biopsies were performed in children suffering from coeliac and other diseases and were stained by the 'astra-blau' method for visualising granulated mast cells. The density of granulated mast cells (per microscopical field) in treated coeliac disease and in 3 control groups (patients suffering from milk allergy, failure to thrive, or protracted diarrhoea) was 15--18 cells per microscopical field, which contrasted with a mean of 6.8 cells in untreated coeliac disease. It is concluded that exposure to gluten in coeliac disease results in degranulation of mast cells, while exposure to milk in milk allergy has no such effect.
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