Metabolism of wheat proteins by intestinal microbes: Implications for wheat related disorders

Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2019 Aug-Sep;42(7):449-457. doi: 10.1016/j.gastrohep.2019.04.001. Epub 2019 Jun 28.
[Article in English, Spanish]


Wheat is a common cereal in the Western diet and an important source of protein as well as fiber. However, some individuals develop adverse reactions to a wheat-containing diet. The best characterized is celiac disease which develops after intake of gluten in individuals with genetic predisposition. Other wheat-related conditions are less well defined in terms of diagnosis, specific trigger and underlying pathways. Despite this, the overall prevalence of wheat-related disorders has increased in the last decades and the role of microbial factors has been suggested. Several studies have described an altered intestinal microbiota in celiac patients compared to healthy subjects, but less information is available regarding other wheat-related disorders. Here, we discuss the importance of the intestinal microbiota in the metabolism of wheat proteins and the development of inflammatory or functional conditions. Understanding these interactions will open new directions for therapeutic development using bacteria with optimal wheat protein degrading capacity.

Keywords: Amylase trypsin inhibitors; Bacterial degradation; Celiac disease; Degradación bacteriana; Enfermedad celíaca; Gluten; Inhibidores de tripsina-amilasa; Metabolismo microbiano; Microbial metabolism; Sensibilidad al trigo; Wheat sensitivity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity
  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • Celiac Disease / diet therapy
  • Celiac Disease / metabolism
  • Celiac Disease / microbiology
  • Diet, Gluten-Free
  • Food Hypersensitivity / diet therapy
  • Food Hypersensitivity / microbiology
  • Food Hypersensitivity / prevention & control
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Glutens / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Plant Proteins / immunology
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Triticum* / adverse effects
  • Triticum* / immunology
  • Trypsin Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Trypsin Inhibitors / metabolism
  • Wheat Germ Agglutinins / adverse effects
  • Wheat Germ Agglutinins / metabolism


  • Plant Proteins
  • Trypsin Inhibitors
  • Wheat Germ Agglutinins
  • Glutens