Gliadin Nanoparticles Induce Immune Tolerance to Gliadin in Mouse Models of Celiac Disease

Gastroenterology. 2020 May;158(6):1667-1681.e12. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2020.01.045. Epub 2020 Feb 4.


Background & aims: Celiac disease could be treated, and potentially cured, by restoring T-cell tolerance to gliadin. We investigated the safety and efficacy of negatively charged 500-nm poly(lactide-co-glycolide) nanoparticles encapsulating gliadin protein (TIMP-GLIA) in 3 mouse models of celiac disease. Uptake of these nanoparticles by antigen-presenting cells was shown to induce immune tolerance in other animal models of autoimmune disease.

Methods: We performed studies with C57BL/6; RAG1-/- (C57BL/6); and HLA-DQ8, huCD4 transgenic Ab0 NOD mice. Mice were given 1 or 2 tail-vein injections of TIMP-GLIA or control nanoparticles. Some mice were given intradermal injections of gliadin in complete Freund's adjuvant (immunization) or of soluble gliadin or ovalbumin (ear challenge). RAG-/- mice were given intraperitoneal injections of CD4+CD62L-CD44hi T cells from gliadin-immunized C57BL/6 mice and were fed with an AIN-76A-based diet containing wheat gluten (oral challenge) or without gluten. Spleen or lymph node cells were analyzed in proliferation and cytokine secretion assays or by flow cytometry, RNA sequencing, or real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Serum samples were analyzed by gliadin antibody enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and intestinal tissues were analyzed by histology. Human peripheral blood mononuclear cells, or immature dendritic cells derived from human peripheral blood mononuclear cells, were cultured in medium containing TIMP-GLIA, anti-CD3 antibody, or lipopolysaccharide (controls) and analyzed in proliferation and cytokine secretion assays or by flow cytometry. Whole blood or plasma from healthy volunteers was incubated with TIMP-GLIA, and hemolysis, platelet activation and aggregation, and complement activation or coagulation were analyzed.

Results: TIMP-GLIA did not increase markers of maturation on cultured human dendritic cells or induce activation of T cells from patients with active or treated celiac disease. In the delayed-type hypersensitivity (model 1), the HLA-DQ8 transgenic (model 2), and the gliadin memory T-cell enteropathy (model 3) models of celiac disease, intravenous injections of TIMP-GLIA significantly decreased gliadin-specific T-cell proliferation (in models 1 and 2), inflammatory cytokine secretion (in models 1, 2, and 3), circulating gliadin-specific IgG/IgG2c (in models 1 and 2), ear swelling (in model 1), gluten-dependent enteropathy (in model 3), and body weight loss (in model 3). In model 1, the effects were shown to be dose dependent. Splenocytes from HLA-DQ8 transgenic mice given TIMP-GLIA nanoparticles, but not control nanoparticles, had increased levels of FOXP3 and gene expression signatures associated with tolerance induction.

Conclusions: In mice with gliadin sensitivity, injection of TIMP-GLIA nanoparticles induced unresponsiveness to gliadin and reduced markers of inflammation and enteropathy. This strategy might be developed for the treatment of celiac disease.

Keywords: Gluten Sensitivity; Immunomodulation; Immunotherapy; Tolerogenic Vaccine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Intravenous
  • Animals
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes
  • Celiac Disease / blood
  • Celiac Disease / drug therapy*
  • Celiac Disease / immunology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Female
  • Gliadin / administration & dosage*
  • Gliadin / immunology
  • Gliadin / toxicity
  • Glutens / administration & dosage
  • Glutens / immunology
  • HLA-DQ Antigens / genetics
  • HLA-DQ Antigens / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance / drug effects*
  • Intestinal Mucosa
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Nanoparticles / administration & dosage*
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry
  • Nanoparticles / toxicity
  • Polyglactin 910 / chemistry
  • Primary Cell Culture
  • Toxicity Tests, Acute


  • HLA-DQ Antigens
  • HLA-DQ8 antigen
  • Polyglactin 910
  • Glutens
  • Gliadin