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BACKGROUND & AIMS: Patients with celiac disease have permanent intolerance to gluten. Because of the high frequency of this disorder (approximately 1 in 100 individuals), we investigated whether oral tolerance to gluten differs from that to other food proteins. METHODS: Using transgenic mice that express human HLA-DQ2 and a gliadin-specific, humanized T-cell receptor, we compared gluten-specific T-cell responses with tolerogenic mucosal T-cell responses to the model food protein ovalbumin. RESULTS: Consistent with previous findings, the ovalbumin-specific response occurred in the mesenteric lymph nodes and induced Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells. In contrast, ingestion of deamidated gliadin induced T-cell proliferation predominantly in the spleen but little in mesenteric lymph nodes. The gliadin-reactive T cells had an effector-like phenotype and secreted large amounts of interferon gamma but also secreted interleukin-10. Despite their effector-like phenotype, gliadin-reactive T cells had regulatory functions, because transfer of the cells suppressed a gliadin-induced, delayed-type hypersensitivity response. CONCLUSIONS: Ingestion of deamidated gliadin induces differentiation of tolerogenic, type 1 regulatory T cells in spleens of HLA-DQ2 transgenic mice. These data indicate that under homeostatic conditions, the T-cell response to deamidated gliadin is tolerance, which is not conditioned by the mucosal immune system but instead requires interleukin-10 induction by antigen presentation in the spleen.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





610 - 620.e2


Animals, Chemokine CCL2, Forkhead Transcription Factors, Gliadin, HLA-DQ Antigens, Immune Tolerance, Interferon-gamma, Interleukin-1, Interleukin-10, Interleukin-12, Lymph Nodes, Mesentery, Mice, Mice, Inbred BALB C, Mice, Transgenic, Ovalbumin, Spleen, T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory, Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha