T cell proliferation, MHC class II restriction and cytokine products of gliadin-stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC)

Clin Exp Immunol. 1999 Aug;117(2):269-76. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2249.1999.00973.x.


The immune response of PBMC to gliadin was investigated in patients with coeliac disease (CoD) by examining proliferation, MHC restriction and cytokine production. Gliadin induced low levels of proliferation in 63% of eight untreated patients, 32% of 28 treated patients and 35% of 31 healthy control subjects. In MHC restriction studies, the proliferative response to gliadin was inhibited (range 47-98% inhibition) in the presence of a MoAb to HLA-DR in each of three coeliac and three control donors studied. Using flow cytometry, increased expression of activation markers (HLA-DR and IL-2R) was demonstrated on gliadin-stimulated T cells from four of nine coeliac patients and three of seven healthy control donors. Cytokines were studied in culture supernatants using ELISA. Gliadin was a potent inducer of IL-6 and IL-10 in 100% of coeliac patients and controls, whereas IL-4 was not produced in either subject group. Gliadin induced IL-2 production in 40% of untreated patients, 42% of treated patients and 35% of healthy control donors. Interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) in gliadin-stimulated cultures was found only in coeliac patients, observed in 33% of untreated patients and 25% of treated patients. Spontaneous secretion of both IL-2 and IFN-gamma was found more frequently in patients with untreated disease (87% of cases versus 21% of controls for IFN-gamma and 40% versus 0% for IL-2). These results suggest, as manifest by IFN-gamma production, that gliadin stimulates a Th1/Th0-like response in coeliac patients and a Th0-like response in healthy controls.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • CD3 Complex / biosynthesis
  • Celiac Disease / immunology
  • Celiac Disease / metabolism
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis*
  • Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gliadin / immunology*
  • HLA-DR Antigens / biosynthesis*
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-10 / metabolism
  • Interleukin-4 / metabolism
  • Interleukin-6 / biosynthesis
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / immunology*
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / metabolism
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2 / biosynthesis
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism


  • CD3 Complex
  • Cytokines
  • Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte
  • HLA-DR Antigens
  • Interleukin-6
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2
  • Interleukin-10
  • Interleukin-4
  • Gliadin