AUG 12, 2020 4:41 PM PDT

Is Gluten Becoming More Immunoreactive?

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker

In recent years, the number of people diagnosed with celiac disease has increased drastically, even with many undiagnosed individuals unaware of their condition. One research group theorized that perhaps, varieties of modern wheat, which contains gluten, might contain more “immunoreactive protein” than older wheat varieties.

Celiac disease is a genetic autoimmune disorder characterized by the lower gastrointestinal tract’s (GI) inability to process gluten. Instead, when an individual with celiac disease consumes food containing gluten, the body launches an immune response as if gluten were a dangerous pathogen. This reaction prevents the GI tract from absorbing important nutrients.

Protein content found in wheat usually constitutes 10 to 12 percent of the crop, with 70 percent being starch. Of the protein content, gluten is In the majority, constituting 75 to 80 percent of the protein content. Researchers from the study considered two groups of gluten: glutenins and gliadins, with the latter likely representing the group to blame for increased autoimmunity.

Researchers analyzed the protein content of 60 varieties of wheat known to exist between 1891 and 2010. Of the 60 varieties, five were selected in each decade as the most common variety. Each variety under study was cultivated each year between 2015 and 2016, controlling for geography and climate.

They found that while protein content in the generational wheat varieties slightly decreased over the years, gluten levels have stayed the same. What they did see changing with gluten, though, was its composition. Gliadin levels fell by 18 percent, and glutenin levels rose by 25 percent. Additionally, the higher the precipitation, the higher the gluten levels.

Ultimately, while researchers observed changes in intra-gluten content, there was no indication of increased immunoreactive potential of wheat varieties over the years. However, other protein components other than gluten have yet to be studied for their chronological change in immunoreactive potential.

Sources: Leibniz-Institute for Food Systems Biology at the Technical University of Munich and the Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research, The University of Chicago Medicine Celiac Disease Center, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry

About the Author
  • I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
You May Also Like
OCT 06, 2020
Immunology
COVID Triggers Abnormalities in Immune Monocytes
OCT 06, 2020
COVID Triggers Abnormalities in Immune Monocytes
University of Manchester immunologists are the first to make an interesting observation about the white blood cells of p ...
OCT 12, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Researchers Solve Key Problem for Cancer Immunotherapy
OCT 12, 2020
Researchers Solve Key Problem for Cancer Immunotherapy
Cancer immunotherapies are becoming increasingly promising as a standard-of-care treatment. However, despite their promi ...
OCT 24, 2020
Immunology
New CRISPR-Based Imaging Tool Is Going to Be HiUGE
OCT 24, 2020
New CRISPR-Based Imaging Tool Is Going to Be HiUGE
A team of researchers at Duke University have developed an imaging technology for tagging structures at a cellular level ...
NOV 10, 2020
Immunology
Genetic Profiling Reveals How Ebola Puts Immune Cells in a Chokehold
NOV 10, 2020
Genetic Profiling Reveals How Ebola Puts Immune Cells in a Chokehold
In the middle of 2020, yet another deadly Ebola outbreak was reported in the Democratic Republic of the Congo - the 11th ...
DEC 25, 2020
Immunology
A High-Fat Diet Starves Immune Cells, Tumor Growth Goes Unchecked
DEC 25, 2020
A High-Fat Diet Starves Immune Cells, Tumor Growth Goes Unchecked
  Sitting down to enjoy an indulgent Christmas feast? A recent study in mice by Harvard Medicine scientists found t ...
JAN 11, 2021
Immunology
Can Immune cells contribute to Lung Diseases Severity?!
JAN 11, 2021
Can Immune cells contribute to Lung Diseases Severity?!
Macrophages are a type of immune cell that can detect and destruct bacteria, viruses, and harmful materials. They a ...
Loading Comments...