Selected probiotic lactobacilli have the capacity to hydrolyze gluten peptides during simulated gastrointestinal digestion
De Angelis M
Dal Bello F
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The aim of this study was to demonstrate the capacity of probiotic lactobacilli to hydrolyze immunogenic gluten peptides. Eighteen commercial strains of probiotic lactobacilli with highly variable peptidase activity (i.e., aminopeptidase N, iminopeptidase, prolyl endopeptidyl peptidase, tripeptidase, prolidase, prolinase, and dipeptidase), including toward Pro-rich peptides, were tested in this study. Ten probiotic strains were selected on the basis of their specific enzyme activity. When pooled, these 10 strains provided the peptidase portfolio that is required to completely degrade the immunogenic gluten peptides involved in celiac disease (CD). The selected probiotic mixture was able to completely hydrolyze well-known immunogenic epitopes, including the gliadin 33-mer peptide, the peptide spanning residues 57 to 68 of the alpha 9-gliadin (alpha 9-gliadin peptide 57-68), A-gliadin peptide 62-75, and alpha-gliadin peptide 62-75. During digestion under simulated gastrointestinal conditions, the pool of 10 selected probiotic lactobacilli strongly hydrolyzed the wheat bread gluten (ca. 18,000 ppm) to less than 10 ppm after 360 min of treatment. As determined by multidimensional chromatography (MDLC) coupled to nanoelectrospray ionization (nano-ESI)-tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS), no known immunogenic peptides were detected in wheat bread that was digested in the presence of the probiotics. Accordingly, the level of cytokines (interleukin 2 [IL-2], IL-10, and interferon gamma [IFN-gamma]) produced by duodenal biopsy specimens from CD patients who consumed wheat bread digested by probiotics was similar to the baseline value (negative control). Probiotics that specifically hydrolyze gluten polypeptides could also be used to hydrolyze immunogenic peptides that contaminate gluten-free products. This could provide a new and safe adjunctive therapy alternative to the gluten-free diet (GFD). IMPORTANCE This study confirmed that probiotic Lactobacillus strains have different enzymatic abilities for hydrolyzing polypeptides, including the Pro-rich epitopes involved in the pathology of CD. Ten lactobacilli with complementary peptidase activities that hydrolyze gluten peptides during simulated gastrointestinal digestion were selected and tested. The results collected showed the potential of probiotic formulas as novel dietary treatments for CD patients.