Celiac disease is an intestinal disorder caused by T-cell responses to peptides derived from the gluten proteins present in wheat.
Such peptides have been found both in the gliadin and glutenin proteins in gluten.
The only cure for celiac disease is a lifelong gluten-free diet. It is unknown, however, if all wheat varieties are equally harmful for patients.
Dr Liesbeth Spaenij-Dekking and colleagues from the Netherlands investigated the existence of wheat varieties with low numbers of T-cell-stimulatory epitopes.
Gluten proteins present in public databases were analyzed for the presence of T-cell-stimulatory sequences.
Wheat accessions from diploid genomes including AA, SS/BB, DD, tetraploid AABB genomes, and hexaploid AABBDD triticum species were tested.
| Gluten proteins that lack 1 of the known T-cell-stimulatory sequences were identified|
The researchers tested the genomes for the presence of T-cell-stimulatory epitopes in gliadins and glutenins.
The research team used both T-cell and monoclonal antibody-based assays to test the genomes.
The database analysis readily identified gluten proteins that lack 1 or more of the known T-cell-stimulatory sequences.
Moreover, the team found that both assays showed a large variation in the amount of T-cell-stimulatory peptides present in the wheat accessions.
Dr Spaenij-Dekking's team concluded, “Sufficient genetic variation is present to endeavor the selection of wheat accessions that contain low amounts of T-cell-stimulatory sequences.”
“Such materials may be used to select and breed wheat varieties suitable for consumption by celiac disease patients, contributing to a well-balanced diet and an increase in their quality of life.”
“Such varieties also may be useful for disease prevention in individuals at risk.”