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Scand J Gastroenterol. 2007 Nov;42(11):1302-5.

Avenins from different cultivars of oats elicit response by coeliac peripheral lymphocytes.

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  • 1Division of Food Science, Human Nutrition and Health, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy.



The avoidance of oats in coeliac patients is still controversial. If oats is confirmed to be safe, it would be a valuable component and offer more variation in a gluten-free diet. The aim of this work was to evaluate whether avenins from different varieties of oats show different abilities in the activation of coeliac peripheral lymphocytes.


In order to assess whether the immunogenic effect of oats varies according to the cultivar, peripheral lymphocytes from 10 coeliac children were exposed to avenins from four different oats varieties: Lampton, Astra, Ava and Nave. Lymphocyte proliferation and interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) release in the culture medium were measured as indexes of immune activation.


All the varieties of oats tested were immunogenic, with Lampton and Ava avenins inducing lymphocyte activation similar to that activated by wheat gliadin, while Astra and Nave avenins showed less immunogenicity, but still with a measurable effect.


There are still concerns about the suitability of including oats in a gluten-free diet. Coeliac patients consuming oats-containing food should be carefully monitored, until there is more evidence to show the safety of oats and varieties of low-toxicity oats.

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