Celiac disease association with CD8+ T cell responses: identification of a novel gliadin-derived HLA-A2-restricted epitope

J Immunol. 2003 Mar 1;170(5):2719-26. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.170.5.2719.


One of the diagnostic hallmarks of the histological lesions associated with celiac disease is the extensive infiltration of the small intestinal epithelium by CD8(+) T cells of unknown Ag specificity. In this study, we report recognition of the gliadin-derived peptide (A-gliadin 123-132) by CD8(+) T lymphocytes from celiac patients. A-gliadin 123-132-specific IFN-gamma production and cytotoxic activity were detected in PBMCs derived from patients on gluten-free diet, but not from either celiac patients on gluten-containing diet or healthy controls. In contrast, A-gliadin 123-132-specific cells were isolated from small intestine biopsies of patients on either gluten-free or gluten-containing diets. Short-term T cell lines derived from the small intestinal mucosa and specific for the 123-132 epitope recognized human APC pulsed with either whole recombinant alpha-gliadin or a partial pepsin-trypsin gliadin digest. Finally, we speculate on a possible mechanism leading to processing and presentation of class I-restricted gliadin-derived epitopes in celiac disease patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antigen Presentation
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Celiac Disease / blood
  • Celiac Disease / immunology*
  • Celiac Disease / pathology
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Movement / immunology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cytotoxicity Tests, Immunologic
  • Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte / blood
  • Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte / immunology*
  • Gliadin / blood
  • Gliadin / immunology*
  • HLA-A2 Antigen / blood
  • HLA-A2 Antigen / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / immunology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / pathology
  • Peptide Fragments / blood
  • Peptide Fragments / immunology
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / metabolism


  • Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte
  • HLA-A2 Antigen
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Gliadin