Background & Aims: Development of celiac disease is believed to involve the transglutaminase-dependent response of CD4 + T cells toward deamidated gluten peptides in the intestinal mucosa of individuals with specific HLA-DQ haplotypes. We investigated the antigen presentation process during this mucosal immune response. Methods: We generated monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) specific for the peptide–MHC (pMHC) complex of HLA-DQ2.5 and the immunodominant gluten epitope DQ2.5-glia-α1a using phage display. We used these mAbs to assess gluten peptide presentation and phenotypes of presenting cells by flow cytometry and enzyme-linked immune absorbent spot (ELISPOT) in freshly prepared single-cell suspensions from intestinal biopsies from 40 patients with celiac disease (35 untreated and 5 on a gluten-free diet) as well as 18 subjects with confirmed noninflamed gut mucosa (controls, 12 presumed healthy, 5 undergoing pancreatoduodenectomy, and 1 with potential celiac disease). Results: Using the mAbs, we detected MHC complexes on cells from intestinal biopsies from patients with celiac disease who consume gluten, but not from patients on gluten-free diets. We found B cells and plasma cells to be the most abundant cells that present DQ2.5-glia-α1a in the inflamed mucosa. We identified a subset of plasma cells that expresses B-cell receptors (BCR) specific for gluten peptides or the autoantigen transglutaminase 2 (TG2). Expression of MHC class II (MHCII) was not restricted to these specific plasma cells in patients with celiac disease but was observed in an average 30% of gut plasma cells from patients and controls. Conclusions: A population of plasma cells from intestinal biopsies of patients with celiac disease express MHCII; this is the most abundant cell type presenting the immunodominant gluten peptide DQ2.5-glia-α1a in the tissues from these patients. These results indicate that plasma cells in the gut can function as antigen-presenting cells and might promote and maintain intestinal inflammation in patients with celiac disease or other inflammatory disorders.
- Immune Activation
ASJC Scopus subject areas