Celiac.com 05/07/2014 - Current treatment for celiac disease is to eat only foods which are gluten-free. But, what about foods processed to remove gluten? Is it safe for people with celiac disease to eat foods that have been processed to remove gluten?

Photo: CC--jeffreywProcessing may render gluten-containing foods technically safe celiac patients, but so far live safety testing can only be performed on actual patients, not in laboratory computer models.

A team of researchers recently set out to test the safety of germinated rye sourdough in a celiac disease model based on the adoptive transfer of prolamin-primed memory T cells into lymphopenic mice. The research team included T.L. Freitag, J. Loponen, M. Messing, V. Zevallos, L.C. Andersson, T. Sontag-Strohm, P. Saavalainen, D. Schuppan, H. Salovaara, S. Meri. They are variously affiliated with the Department of Bacteriology and Immunology at the Haartman Institute of the University of Helsinki in Helsinki, Finland.

For their study, they modified a celiac disease mouse model to test antigenicity and inflammatory effects of germinated rye sourdough, a food product characterized by extensive prolamin hydrolysis.

The team then injected Lymphopenic Rag1(-/-) or nude mice with splenic CD4(+)CD62L(-)CD44 high-memory T cells from gliadin- or secalin-immunized wild-type donor mice.

The team found that:

  1. Rag1(-/-) recipients challenged with wheat or rye gluten lost more body weight and developed more severe histological duodenitis than mice on gluten-free diet. This correlated with increased secretion of IFNγ, IL-2, and IL-17 by secalin-restimulated splenocytes.
  2. In vitro gluten testing using competitive R5 ELISA showed widespread degradation of the gluten R5 epitope in germinated rye sourdough.
  3. However, in nude mice challenged with germinated rye sourdough (vs. native rye sourdough), serum anti-secalin IgG/CD4(+) T helper 1-associated IgG2c titers were only reduced, but not eliminated.

In addition, they found no reductions in body weight loss, histological duodenitis, or T cell cytokine secretion in Rag1(-/-) recipients challenged accordingly.

From the results, they concluded that Prolamin-primed CD4(+)CD62L(-)CD44 high-memory T cells do induce gluten-sensitive enteropathy in Rag1(-/-) mice.

Moreover, germination of rye sourdough does not completely hydrolyze the secalin peptides, which retain B and T cell stimulatory capacity and remain harmful to the intestinal mucosa in this celiac disease model.

Current antibody-based prolamin detection methods may fail to detect antigenic gluten fragments in processed cereal food products.

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