Coeliac disease (CD) is an immune-mediated enteropathy resulting from exposure to gluten in genetically predisposed individuals. Gluten proteins are partially digested by human proteases generating immunogenic peptides that cause inflammation in patients carrying
HLA-DQ2and DQ8genes. Although intestinal dysbiosis has been associated with patients with CD, bacterial metabolism of gluten has not been studied in depth thus far. The aim of this study was to analyse the metabolic activity of intestinal bacteria associated with gluten intake in healthy individuals, CD patients and first-degree relatives of CD patients. Faecal samples belonging to twenty-two untreated CD patients, twenty treated CD patients, sixteen healthy volunteers on normal diet, eleven healthy volunteers on gluten-free diet (GFD), seventy-one relatives of CD patients on normal diet and sixty-nine relatives on GFD were tested for several proteolytic activities, cultivable bacteria involved in gluten metabolism, SCFA and the amount of gluten in faeces. We detected faecal peptidasic activity against the gluten-derived peptide 33-mer. CD patients showed differences in faecal glutenasic activity (FGA), faecal tryptic activity (FTA), SCFA and faecal gluten content with respect to healthy volunteers. Alterations in specific bacterial groups metabolising gluten such as Clostridiumor Lactobacilluswere reported in CD patients. Relatives showed similar parameters to CD patients (SCFA) and healthy volunteers (FTA and FGA). Our data support the fact that commensal microbial activity is an important factor in the metabolism of gluten proteins and that this activity is altered in CD patients.