Gliadin specific, HLA DQ2-restricted T cells are commonly found in small intestinal biopsies from coeliac disease patients, but not from controls

Scand J Immunol. 1997 Sep;46(3):103-9. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-3083.1997.d01-93.x.


The authors have analysed gliadin specific, CD4+ T cells isolated from small intestinal biopsies of 23 adult coeliac disease patients (20 on a gluten-free diet and three untreated) and nine control patients. The biopsies were stimulated ex vivo with a peptic/tryptic digest of gliadin for 24 h, and activated T cells were positively selected with paramagnetic beads coated with an antibody against the interleukin-2 receptor. The T cells were expanded and tested for gliadin reactivity and HLA restriction. Gliadin specific, polyclonal T cell lines were recovered from biopsies of all 23 patients. Inhibition studies of T cell lines from 21 patients with anti-HLA monoclonal antibodies indicated predominant presentation of the gliadin antigen by HLA-DQ2 in T cell lines from 11 patients (lines from seven patients with complete MoAb inhibition, the remaining with incomplete inhibition) and incomplete inhibition by HLA-DR3 in lines from three patients. Nine gliadin specific T cell clones from six patients were established; all of these were HLA-DQ2 restricted. Gliadin specific T cells were not found in biopsies from the non-coeliac controls. Our findings demonstrate that gliadin reactive T cells are commonly found in the intestinal mucosa of CD patients and they support the notion that the majority of T cell recognize gliadin peptide(s) when presented by the disease associated DQ2 molecules.

Publication types

  • Corrected and Republished Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / immunology
  • Biopsy
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Celiac Disease / immunology*
  • Celiac Disease / pathology
  • Female
  • Gliadin / immunology*
  • HLA-DQ Antigens / immunology*
  • Histocompatibility Testing
  • Humans
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Intestinal Mucosa / immunology
  • Intestine, Small / immunology*
  • Intestine, Small / pathology
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged


  • HLA-DQ Antigens
  • HLA-DQ2 antigen
  • Gliadin