Wheat gluten derived antigens have been tested for their ability to inhibit the migration of leucocytes from healthy subjects and patients with coeliac disease. Three preparations of a water soluble fraction (Frazer's fraction III, FIII) of partial peptic tryptic digests of wheat gluten had different effects in a direct (one stage) assay. Subfractions B and B2 caused migration inhibition of leucocytes from patients with treated coeliac disease but not of leucocytes from healthy volunteers or patients with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. This migration inhibition seems to be specific for gluten fractions because maize zein fraction B, beta-lactoglobulin and ovalbumin did not cause it. The sensitivity of coeliac leucocytes to fraction B is not related to factors present in coeliac serum as the migration of leucocytes from healthy individuals preincubated with coeliac sera was not inhibited. Puromycin diminished inhibition by fraction B, which was active at 1.2 micrograms/ml in an indirect (two stage) migration inhibition assay; this is consistent with a process involving elaboration of lymphokine(s). More highly purified fractions of B2, P1-P4 were prepared by reverse phase high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and showed differing potency in direct and indirect assays, with P4 being the most active fraction. Inhibition of migration by gluten derived peptides appears to result from the release of lymphokine by leucocytes specifically from coeliac patients.
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