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Clin Chim Acta. 1991 Dec 31;204(1-3):95-107.

Cellular and humoral responses in coeliac disease. 1. Wheat protein fractions.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Royal Adelaide Hospital, University of Adelaide, SA.


The humoral and cellular immune response of coeliac individuals to various wheat protein fractions was studied using serum antibody ELISA assays and the indirect leucocyte migration inhibition factor (LMIF) assays. Greater migration inhibition factor activity was seen in coeliacs on a gluten-free-diet having low serum antibody titres, and using purified T-cells instead of total peripheral blood mononucleocytes. Gliadin was the most active fraction in both assays. Raised antibodies to low-molecular weight and high-molecular weight glutenin polypeptides was observed, though these proteins had little migration inhibition factor activity. No cellular or humoral response was seen to albumins or globulins. Proteins associated with the granules of well-washed wheat starch are distinct from gluten proteins and had little T-cell activity, correlating with clinical observations that properly prepared wheat starch is devoid of coeliac toxicity. The greater specificity of the humoral response for individual wheat protein fractions in this study, compared with the earlier reports, likely results from cross-contamination in the earlier work of each fraction with gliadin.

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