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J Immunol. 2005 Feb 1;174(3):1657-63.

Tissue transglutaminase-mediated formation and cleavage of histamine-gliadin complexes: biological effects and implications for celiac disease.

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Institute of Immunology, Rikshospitalet, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.


Celiac disease is an HLA-DQ2-associated disorder characterized by an intestinal T cell response. The disease-relevant T cells secrete IFN-gamma upon recognition of gluten peptides that have been deamidated in vivo by the enzyme tissue transglutaminase (transglutaminase 2 (TG2)). The celiac intestinal mucosa contains elevated numbers of mast cells, and increased histamine secretion has been reported in celiac patients. This appears paradoxical because histamine typically biases T cell responses in the direction of Th2 instead of the Th1 pattern seen in the celiac lesions. We report that histamine is an excellent substrate for TG2, and it can be efficiently conjugated to gluten peptides through TG2-mediated transamidation. Histamine-peptide conjugates do not exert agonistic effects on histamine receptors, and scavenging of biologically active histamine by gluten peptide conjugation can have physiological implications and may contribute to the mucosal IFN-gamma response in active disease. Interestingly, TG2 is able to hydrolyze the peptide-histamine conjugates when the concentrations of substrates are lowered, thereby releasing deamidated gluten peptides that are stimulatory to T cells.

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