Introduction: Celiac disease (CeD) is an autoimmune enteropathy which affects approximately 0.7% of the global population. While first-degree relatives (FDR) of patients with CeD have a 7.5% risk of developing enteropathy, many remain protected. Therefore, intestinal mucosa of FDR might have protective compensatory mechanisms against immunological injury. We have explored the protective mechanisms that may be active in intestinal mucosa of FDR. Methods: Intestinal mucosal biopsies (4–5 pieces) from treatment naïve patients with CeD (n = 12), FDR (n = 12) (anti-tTG negative) and controls (n = 12) (anti-tTG negative) were obtained from each individual and subjected to microarray analysis using HT-12-v4 Human Expression BeadChips (Illumina). Differential gene expression analysis was carried out among CeD, FDR and controls; and resulting gene lists were analyzed using gene ontology and pathway enrichment tools. Results: Patients with CeD, FDR and control groups displayed significant differential gene expression. Thirty seven genes were upregulated and 372 were downregulated in the intestinal mucosa of FDR in comparison to CeD and controls. Pseudogenes constituted about 18% (315/1751) of FDR differentially expressed genes, and formed “clusters” that associated uniquely with individual study groups. The three study groups segregated into distinct clusters in unsupervised (PCA) and supervised (random forests) modelling approaches. Pathways analysis revealed an emphasis on crypt-villous maintenance and immune regulation in the intestinal mucosa of FDR. Conclusions: Our analysis suggests that the intestinal mucosa of celiac FDR consist of a unique molecular phenotype that is distinct from CeD and controls. The transcriptomic landscape of FDR promotes maintenance of crypt-villous axis and modulation of immune mechanisms. These differences clearly demonstrate the existence of compensatory protective mechanisms in the FDR intestinal mucosa. © 2018, The Author(s).