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Open AccessArticle

The Human Digestive Tract Is Capable of Degrading Gluten from Birth

1
Área de Bioquímica y Biología Molecular, Departamento de Biología Molecular, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad de León, 24071 León, Spain
2
Área de Microbiología, Departamento de Biología Molecular, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas y Ambientales, Universidad de León, 24071 León, Spain
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Instituto de Biología Molecular, Genómica y Proteómica (INBIOMIC), Universidad de León, 24071 León, Spain
4
Servicio de Gastroenterología, Hospital Universitario de León, 24008 Léon, Spain
5
Instituto de Biomedicina (IBIOMED), Universidad de León, 24071 León, Spain
6
Servicio de Pediatría, Hospital Universitario de León, 24008 Léon, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(20), 7696; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21207696
Received: 16 September 2020 / Revised: 14 October 2020 / Accepted: 15 October 2020 / Published: 18 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Biology)
The human gastrointestinal system has the capacity to metabolize dietary gluten. The capacity to degrade gliadin-derived peptide is present in humans from birth and increases during the first stages of life (up to 6–12 months of age). Fecal samples from 151 new-born and adult non-celiac disease (NCD) volunteers were collected, and glutenase and glianidase activities were evaluated. The capacity of total fecal proteins to metabolize 33-mer, 19-mer, and 13-mer gliadin peptides was also evaluated by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Feces from new-borns (meconium) showed glutenase and gliadinase activities, and peptidase activity against all three gliadin peptides. Maximal gluten degradative activity was observed in fecal samples from the youngest volunteers (0–12 months old). After the age of nine months, the gluten digestive capacity of gastrointestinal tract decreases and, from ±8 years old, individuals lose the ability to completely degrade toxic peptides. The gastrointestinal proteases involved in gluten digestion: elastase 2A, elastase 3B, and carboxipeptidase A1 are present from earlier stages of life. The human digestive tract contains the proteins capable of metabolizing gluten from birth, even before starting gluten intake. Humans are born with the ability to digest gluten and to completely degrade the potentially toxic gliadin-derived peptides (33-, 19-, and 13-mer). View Full-Text
Keywords: gluten; celiac disease; meconium; gliadinase activity; gliadin peptides; gastrointestinal tract gluten; celiac disease; meconium; gliadinase activity; gliadin peptides; gastrointestinal tract
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Fernández-Pérez, S.; Pérez-Andrés, J.; Gutiérrez, S.; Navasa, N.; Martínez-Blanco, H.; Ferrero, M.Á.; Vivas, S.; Vaquero, L.; Iglesias, C.; Casqueiro, J.; Rodríguez-Aparicio, L.B. The Human Digestive Tract Is Capable of Degrading Gluten from Birth. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21, 7696.

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