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J Immunol. 2002 Nov 15;169(10):5595-600.

HLA-DQ determines the response to exogenous wheat proteins: a model of gluten sensitivity in transgenic knockout mice.

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Department of Immunology, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Mayo Clinic and Foundation, 220 1st Street SW, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.


We have investigated the genetic basis of the immune response to dietary gluten in HCD4/DQ8 and HCD4/DQ6 double transgenic mice. Mice were immunized with gluten i.p. or individual peptides s.c. and spleen or draining lymph node T cells were challenged in vitro. Strong proliferative responses to gluten were seen in the HCD4/DQ8 mice, whereas the HCD4/DQ6 mice responded to gluten poorly. A series of overlapping peptides spanning gliadin were synthesized. The HCD4/DQ8 mice reacted to many of the individual peptides of gliadin, while the HCD4/DQ6 mice were relatively unresponsive. T cells isolated from HCD4/DQ8 mice also responded well to modified (deamidated) versions of the gliadin peptides, whereas HCD4DQ6 mice did not. The T cell response to gluten was CD4 dependent and DQ restricted and led to the production of cytokines IL-6, TGF-beta, and IL-10. Finally, intestinal lymphocytes isolated from gluten-fed HCD4/DQ8 mice displayed an activated phenotype. These data suggest that this HLA class II transgenic murine model of gluten sensitivity may provide insight into the initiation of the MHC class II-restricted gluten sensitivity in celiac disease.

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