The lymphoepithelial phenomenon of the stomach. A case report.


A large number of lymphocytes each surrounded by a clear halo were found in the foveolar epithelium of the fundic region and the antrum in a gastric biopsy from a patient with epigastric complaints. Electron microscopical studies demonstrated the presence of intraepithelial "in-halo" lymphocytes both underneath, between two contiguous, and within foveolar gastric cells. Normal numbers of lymphocytes (without haloes) were found in the lamina propria, suggesting that this epithelial lymphocytosis may be unrelated to "classical" chronic gastritis. The possibility of an autoimmune phenomenon at the foveolar cell level was discussed. The absence of intraepithelial lymphocytes in the glandular epithelium suggests that this phenomenon may be unrelated to the type of autoimmunity found in pernicious anaemia.


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