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Gastroenterology. 2007 Jul;133(1):195-206. Epub 2007 May 3.

Sera of patients with celiac disease and neurologic disorders evoke a mitochondrial-dependent apoptosis in vitro.

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Department of Physiological & Pharmacological Sciences, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy.



The mechanisms underlying neurologic impairment in celiac disease remain unknown. We tested whether antineuronal antibody-positive sera of patients with celiac disease evoke neurodegeneration via apoptosis in vitro.


SH-Sy5Y cells were exposed to crude sera, isolated immunoglobulin (Ig) G and IgG-depleted sera of patients with and without celiac disease with and without neurologic disorders, and antineuronal antibodies. Adsorption studies with gliadin and tissue transglutaminase (tTG) were performed in celiac disease sera. Apoptosis activated caspase-3, apaf-1, Bax, cytochrome c, cleaved caspase-8 and caspase-9 and mitochondrial respiratory chain complexes were evaluated with different methods.


SH-Sy5Y cells exposed to antineuronal antibody-positive sera and isolated IgG from the same sera exhibited a greater percentage of TUNEL-positive nuclei than that of antineuronal antibody-negative sera. Neuroblasts exposed to antineuronal antibody-negative celiac disease sera also showed greater TUNEL positivity and apaf-1 immunolabeled cells than controls. Antigliadin- and anti-tTG-depleted celiac disease sera had an apoptotic effect similar to controls. Anti-caspase-3 immunostained cells were greater than controls when exposed to positive sera. The mitochondrial respiratory chain complex was reduced by positive sera. Western blot demonstrated only caspase-9 cleavage in positive sera. Cytochrome c and Bax showed reciprocal translocation (from mitochondria to cytoplasm and vice versa) after treatment with positive sera.


Antineuronal antibodies and, to a lower extent, combined antigliadin and anti-tTG antibodies in celiac disease sera contribute to neurologic impairment via apoptosis. Apaf-1 activation with Bax and cytochrome c translocation suggest a mitochondrial-dependent apoptosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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