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Dutch Researchers Discover Grain Protein Homology Responsible for Toxicity in Celiacs

Gastroenterology, Oct 2003, Vol 125, No 4, p1105-13

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Celiac.com 10/30/2003 – It has long been known that celiac disease is caused by T-cell responses to wheat gluten-derived peptides, but the toxicity of other widely consumed grains has not been well studied. The researchers who conducted this study were aimed at determining the toxic T-cell stimulatory properties of barley hordeins, rye secalins, and oat avenins. Except for one instance, they found that there were no identical T-cell stimulatory gluten peptide matches in these grains. There were, however, similar responses found in "11 homologous sequences in hordeins, secalins, and avenins located in regions similar to those in the original gluten proteins," and seven of the 11 peptides were recognized by gluten-specific T-cell lines and/or clones from patients with celiac disease. The team discovered that key amino acids can be substituted, which will either partially or totally stop the T-cell stimulation by the gluten peptides, and that "single nucleotide substitutions in gluten genes will suffice to induce these effects."

The researchers conclude: "These results show that the disease-inducing properties of barley and rye can in part be explained by T-cell cross-reactivity against gluten-, secalin-, and hordein-derived peptides. Moreover, the results provide a first step toward a rational strategy for gluten detoxification via targeted mutagenesis at the genetic level."

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3 Responses:

 
annie
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said this on
28 May 2008 5:44:06 PM PDT
So, for the non-scientist, what does this mean? That rye is ok, for celiacs? That oats are not? That they create the same reaction? This is confusing. It would be good to have a couple lines for the novice in there.

 
Sherry
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said this on
27 Aug 2008 8:02:28 PM PDT
I agree with Annie. In addition it sounds like they believe the answer lies in mutating genes (Of the grains?). My thanks to all the companies and individuals who have developed tasty recipes that deal naturally with gluten intolerance.

 
Karen
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said this on
29 Dec 2008 5:45:12 PM PDT
I agree with Annie and Sherry! I am 39 now and diagnosed at the age of 2. I have done much reading and research on being celiac to maintain my health. The info given above about new research being done would be wonderful as most celiacs try to stay on top of new info and options......However it sure would be nice as a lay person to understand what has been written. The above seems intriguing but becomes a tease because it is hard to decipher and understand.




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