The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2012, Article ID 837416, 8 pages
AreAncientDurumWheats LessToxicto Celiac Patients?
AStudy ofα-GliadinfromGraziellaRa and Kamut
M. StellaColomba andArmando Gregorini
Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, della Vita e dell’Ambiente (DiSTeVA), Universit` a di Urbino “Carlo Bo”,
Via Maggetti 22, 61029 Urbino, Italy
Correspondence should be addressed to M. Stella Colomba, firstname.lastname@example.org
Received 26 October 2011; Accepted 12 January 2012
Academic Editor: John Sidney
Copyright © 2012 M. S. Colomba and A. Gregorini. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons
Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is
In the present paper, the controversial hypothesis suggesting ancient grains might show lower immunogenic properties and
therefore the possibility to introduce them in the diet of wheat-sensitive people, including celiac patients, was investigated.
The immunogenic potential of the ancient durum wheats Graziella Ra and Kamut was studied by comparison to the durum
accessions Cappelli, Flaminio, Grazia and Svevo. Experiments were carried out with two monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) raised
against α-gliadin peptides p31–49 and p56–75 (the latter containing the overlapping DQ2-Glia-α1 and DQ2-Glia-α2 epitopes),
toxic for celiac patients. For all accessions, a few α-gliadin alleles were also cloned, sequenced and translated into aminoacid
sequences. Several aminoacid substitutions or deletions were detected in p31–49, DQ2-Glia-α1 and DQ2-Glia-α2 epitopes,
nevertheless, ELISA constantly showed antibody-antigen positive reactions which led us to suggest that mAbs binding was
not apparently affected by polymorphisms. Moreover, a few substitutions were also observed in DQ2-Glia-α3 and DQ8-Glia-
α1 epitopes. Although some DQ2-Glia-α1 and DQ2-Glia-α2 variants evidenced herein were previously reported to have a
diminished or abolished T cell stimulatory capacity, present results cannot confirm that ancient durum wheats would be
less CD-toxic. In conclusion, we strongly advice celiac patients from consuming ancient wheats including Graziella Ra or
Celiac disease (CD) is an intestinal chronic disorder caused
by an intolerance to wheat gluten proteins (gliadins and
glutenins) mainly resulting in small-intestinal mucosal
injuries and nutrient malabsorption in susceptible individ-
uals . In recent years it has become clear that CD is far
more common than previously thought. Several serological
screening studies from Europe, South America, Australasia,
and the USA have shown that approximately 0.5–2% of these
populations suffers from CD. Nevertheless, most affected
spectrum of clinical presentations . Although they are all
characterized by a certain degree of villous atrophy, from a
clinical point of view, it is usual to consider three different
forms of CD: major or classic CD (characterized by the
presence of symptoms of frank malabsorption, i.e., diarrhea,
steatorrhea, and/or weight loss); minor subclinical CD (with
no evident symptoms of malabsorption, but rather with
minor transient or extraintestinal symptoms); and Silent CD
positive to serological tests such as antigliadin, antiendomys-
ial, and antitransglutaminase, showing evidence of histologi-
cal change in the small intestine). Hence, screening for silent
or subclinical CD has become of paramount importance,
especially considering that a proper diagnosis might prevent
and/or reduce the severity of symptoms and ultimately fa-
vour a remission of associated diseases.
CD is a multifactorial disorder including both genetic
and environmental factors whose relative weight is not yet
fully understood. Differences in concordance rates in mono-
zygotic (86%) and dizygotic (20%) twins strongly suggest a
relevant influence of genetic factors, of which HLA (Human
Leukocyte Antigen) is estimated to contribute for 40–50%
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