Introduction: the secretion of antigens from the diet into breast milk has been extensively documented. The transfer of gliadin could be critical for the development of an immune response.
Objectives: to investigate the presence of immunogenic gluten peptides in the feces of infants fed with different diets.
Material and methods: a blind, prospective, controlled, collaborative study was performed in three hospitals, between September 2016 and January 2017. The study protocol was approved by the Ethics Committee of the hospitals in Seville prior to starting the study.
Results: the cohort was divided into three groups of 30 infants: an experimental group (average age 9.2 ± 2.8 weeks) with exclusive breastfeeding, a control group 1 (average age 10.3 ± 3.3 weeks) exclusively fed with onset formula and a control group 2 (average age 56 ± 3.7 weeks) with infants that consumed gluten on a regular basis. The peptide 33-mer of gliadin was negative in all feces samples from both the experimental and control group 1. With regard to control group 2, the peptide 33-mer of gliadin was negative in 23% of cases (seven children). There was no difference in the amount of gluten ingested by these children compared to those who excreted the 33-mer peptide.
Conclusions: the failure to detect gluten in the feces of infants that were exclusively breastfed indicates that it is probably below the limits of detection. Healthy children who consume gluten may not excrete it in feces.