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Clin Exp Immunol. 2014 Feb;175(2):167-71. doi: 10.1111/cei.12203.

Elevated CD8 T cell responses in type 1 diabetes patients to a 13 amino acid coeliac-active peptide from α-gliadin.

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Department of Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, USA.


Some type 1 diabetes (T1D) patients have been reported to exhibit T cell reactivity to wheat gluten. We tested the hypothesis that this T cell reactivity could be abolished by using prolyl-endopeptidase (PEP), an enzyme that cleaves peptide bonds after proline. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were isolated from T1D patients and healthy controls. PBMCs were stimulated with a peptic-tryptic digest of wheat gluten; a peptic-tryptic-PEP digest of wheat gluten; and a 13 amino acid peptide from wheat gluten. Fluorescent-labelled antibodies to CD3, CD4 and CD8 cell marker proteins were utilized to determine proliferative responses of CD3, CD4 and CD8 T cells. There were no significant differences in proliferative responses of CD3 or CD4 T cells to the wheat gluten antigens. A significantly higher proportion of CD8(+) T cells from T1D patients proliferated in the presence of the 13 amino acid peptide than when challenged with the peptic-tryptic or the peptic-tryptic-PEP digests of wheat gluten. PEP treatment had no significant effect on CD8 T cell reactivity to the peptic-trytic digest of wheat gluten. Our results suggest that wheat gluten-derived peptides, containing ≤ 13 amino acids, may evoke T cell responses in T1D patients.


T cell responses; peptides; prolyl-endopeptidase; type 1 diabetes; wheat gluten

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