Researchers from the Netherlands determined which gluten peptides are involved in celiac disease (CD) in children.
They characterized the gluten-specific T-cell response in HLA-DQ2-positive children with recent onset CD.
It was found that 50% of these patients did not respond to the alpha-gliadin peptide.
However, they did respond to a diverse set of gliadin and glutenin peptides, including 6 novel epitopes.
Moreover, individual patients responded to distinct (combinations of) gluten peptides.
The authors observed T-cell cross-reactivity toward homologous gliadin and glutenin peptides. This might play a role in the initial spreading of the gluten-specific T-cell response.
All pediatric patients displayed deamidation-dependent responses. Nonetheless, deamidation-independent responses were found in the majority of patients as well.
| Pediatric celiac patients responded to a diverse set of gliadin and glutenin peptides.
| Gastroenterology |
Finally, T-cell responses to 3 of these novel gluten peptides were found in adult CD patients.
Willemijn Vader, of Leiden University Medical Centre, said on behalf of colleagues, "The diversity of the gluten-specific T-cell response is far greater than was previously appreciated.
"Both adult and young CD patients can respond to a diverse repertoire of gluten peptides."
"The observation that T-cell responses to 3 of the novel peptides are independent of deamidation indicates that T-cell responses can be initiated toward native gluten peptides.
"There is a possibility that deamidation drives the gluten response toward immunodominant T-cell stimulatory peptides after disease initiation," it was concluded.
In an accompanying Editorial, authors Corazza and Martucci comment, "These results will provide important tools for future studies aimed to expand our knowledge about pathogenesis, and perhaps treatment, in celiac disease."