Immunologic reactivity in celiac disease may not be limited to wheat gluten, but can involve certain non-gluten proteins in wheat, according to researchers at Columbia University Medical Center.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that is triggered by the ingestion of wheat and related cereals in genetically susceptible individuals. The immune response results in inflammation and tissue damage in the small intestine, which can lead to severe gastrointestinal symptoms, and other extra-intestinal manifestations. Gluten proteins, which make up for 75 percent of the total protein content of wheat grain, are known to be the primary triggers of the immune response in celiac disease. However, the possible involvement of wheat non-gluten proteins has been poorly understood.
This study was the first to attempt mapping of the B cell response to non-gluten proteins of wheat in celiac disease. Scientists searched for the protein targets through two-dimensional separation techniques, immunoassays, and mass spectrometry. The study identified a group of molecules known as serpins as novel non-gluten immunogenic proteins in celiac disease.
Lead author of the study, Dr. Armin Alaedini said, "Although we can't draw direct conclusions about the pathogenic effects of the proteins yet, these findings should prompt a closer look into their potential involvement in the inflammatory processes at work in celiac disease."
The results are published in 'Journal of Proteome Research'.