Gluten-degrading bacteria are present in the human small intestine of healthy volunteers and celiac patients
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Gluten is the only known environmental factor that triggers celiac disease. Several studies have described an imbalance between the intestinal microbiota of different individuals based on diagnoses. Moreover, recent studies have suggested that human bacteria may play an important role in gluten hydrolysis. However, there has been no research focusing on the small intestine. This study aimed to characterize the adult small intestine microbiota possibly implicated in gluten hydrolysis. Duodenal biopsies from different diagnosed individuals were cultured in a gluten-containing medium, and the grown microbiota was analyzed by culture dependent/independent methods. Results showed that gluten-degrading bacteria can be found in the human small intestine. Indeed, 114 bacterial strains belonging to 32 species were isolated; 85 strains were able to grow in a medium containing gluten as the sole nitrogen source, 31 strains showed extracellular proteolytic activity against gluten protein and 27 strains showed peptidolytic activity towards the 33 mer peptide, an immunogenic peptide for celiac disease patients. We found that there are no differences based on the diagnosis, but each individual has its own population of gluten-hydrolyzing bacteria. These bacteria or their gluten-degrading enzymes could help to improve the quality of life of celiac disease patients'.
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