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Keywords:

  • Barley;
  • Coeliac disease;
  • Interferon-gamma;
  • Monoclonal antibody;
  • 33-mer

Scope

The only treatment available for coeliac disease (CD) is a strict diet in which the intake of wheat, barley, rye, or oats is avoided. Barley is a major cereal crop, grown mainly for its use in brewing, and it has high nutritional value. The identification of varieties with a reduced toxicity profile may contribute to improve the diet, the quality of life and health of CD patients.

Methods and results

Searching for harmless barleys, we investigated accessions of malting and wild barley, used for developing new cultivated cereals. The CD toxicity profile of barleys was screened using G12 antibody and cell proliferation and IFN-γ release from peripheral blood mononuclear cells and intestinal biopsies from CD patients. We found a direct correlation between the reactivity with G12 and the immunogenicity of the different barleys.

Conclusion

The malting barleys were less immunogenic, with reduced levels of toxic gluten, and were possibly less harmful to CD patients. Our findings could raise the prospect of breeding barley species with low levels of harmful gluten, and the attractive goal of developing nontoxic barley cultivars, always taking into account the Codex standard for foods for special dietary use for persons intolerant to gluten.