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The aim of this study was to investigate the value of immunohistochemical characterization of different intraepithelial lymphocytes (IELs) in the diagnostic workup of celiac disease (CD).The study involved 928 consecutive adult patients undergoing endoscopy undertaken on suspicion of CD or to ascertain the dietary compliance; the control group consisted of 59 adults who underwent endoscopy because of indigestion. Small bowel mucosal morphology, CD3+, αβ+, and γδ+ IELs were determined.CD was detected in 138 and excluded in 545 adults. CD3+ and γδ+ IELs both showed a sensitivity of 93% for CD; specificity was 73% and 88%, respectively. For αβ+ cells, the sensitivity was 83% and specificity, 66%. The mucosal morphology recovered on a gluten-free diet and the densities of different IELs, even γδ+ cells, decreased. Only the density of γδ+ cells remained elevated compared with controls.Counting of IELs is recommended in borderline cases where the histology is difficult to interpret. An increase especially in γδ+ cells strengthens the probability of CD. However, IELs are not invariably increased in CD.