Researchers discover an alternative to treat celiac disease

A team of researchers from the University of Seville has managed to identify a bacterium that reduces the components of toxic gluten in cereals and neutralizes most of the proteins that cause celiac disease.

What is gluten? What diseases can generate its consumption? What is celiac disease? Gluten is a protein present in many cereals such as rye, wheat, spelled, oats or barley. Some people are prone to suffer certain pathologies derived from this protein such as sensitivity to non-celiac gluten, allergy or, worse still, celiac disease.

The problem is the inability of the body to digest this protein since after consuming it, protein fragments are generated that activate the immune system and detect them as toxic. At that time there is a reaction to the poisoning produced. In fact, according to the Federation of Celiac Associations in Spain, one in every 100 people has or will have gluten intolerance.

What is the solution? Are there alternatives? It is difficult to establish mechanisms to avoid such intolerance since it can appear at any age, both in childhood and as adults. The only treatment is to maintain a gluten-free diet.

A bacterium that reduces gluten toxicity

But everything may be about to change for those people intolerant to this protein. A team of researchers from the University of Seville, together with the Biomedal company, has managed to identify a bacterium that reduces the components of toxic gluten in cereals and neutralizes most of the proteins that cause celiac disease.

The study, published in the specialized journal PLoS ONE, is a great finding to look for new alternatives to treat this disease. How have they carried out the analysis? The team of researchers has isolated the enzyme ‘prolylendopeptidase (PEP)’ from the bacterium ‘Chryseobacterium taeanense sp. 2RA3 ’.

The aforementioned enzyme is able to decrease the content of ‘gluten immunogenic peptides (GIP) in cereals or products that usually contain traces of gluten, which are what cause reactions in people with celiac disease.

«We consider the need for the use of enzymes as additives or technological auxiliaries in the food industry, either to eliminate toxic proteins that cause the immune reaction of gluten from the raw material or as non-dietary oral therapies for celiac patients, to avoid the effects of a minimum consumption ”, argued Mª de Lourdes Moreno, one of the main authors of the study.

To carry out the analysis, experts have combined microbiology, biotechnology and genetics techniques and then compared the results with the activity of other known bacterial enzymes. Despite the great finding, the team continues to investigate new combinations that allow to completely reduce the content that causes the immune reaction of people with celiac disease.

Spread the love

Leave a Reply