Enhanced peptide-binding capacities of small intestinal brush border membranes in celiac disease

Pediatr Res. 1999 Dec;46(6):666-70. doi: 10.1203/00006450-199912000-00010.


In pathogenesis of celiac disease, the significance of prolamin peptide interactions with enterocytes is controversial. Changes in cellular metabolism induced by gliadin peptides, as well as uptake and presentation by enterocytes, are discussed. We analyzed peptide binding to enterocytic membranes as a potential key event. Binding capacities of brush border membranes isolated from small intestinal biopsies of untreated (n = 49) and treated celiac patients on a gluten-free diet (n = 30), as well as control subjects (n = 43), were measured with a dot blot chemiluminescence assay. Synthetic gliadin peptides comprising amino acid position 8-19 (G XIV) and 30-41 (G XI) of alpha-gliadins, a peptic-tryptic digest of gliadin (PT-GLI), and a synthetic zein peptide were used. Comparing treated celiac patients with controls, we observed significantly enhanced membrane-binding of PT-GLI [mean 122.4 densitometric units/microg (95% confidence interval 116.0-128.9) vs 108.9 (102.1-115.7)] and of zein peptide [50.2 (38.4-61.9) vs 28.8 (13.4-44.2)], but only slightly increased binding of the synthetic gliadin peptides G XIV [65.5 (60.6-70.5) vs 62.4 (56.3-68.5) and G XI [75.2 (69.8-80.6) vs 65.9 (55.2-76.5)]. Independent of patient group, membrane-binding capacities for celiac-active gliadin peptides exceeded those of the zein peptide. Thus, interaction of gliadin peptides with the apical enterocytic membrane was not found exclusively in celiac disease. Furthermore, increased binding capacities in treated celiac disease were not confined to celiac-active peptides. Quantitative differences in gliadin peptide binding as a primary characteristic in celiac disease might contribute to pathogenetic effects exerted on small intestinal epithelial cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Celiac Disease / metabolism*
  • Celiac Disease / pathology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Gliadin / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intestine, Small / metabolism*
  • Intestine, Small / ultrastructure
  • Male
  • Microvilli / metabolism*
  • Peptides / metabolism
  • Protein Binding


  • Peptides
  • Gliadin