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Community regulations will require a sensitive and specific assay for
measurement of coeliac toxic gluten proteins in foods marketed as
gluten-free. To avoid spurious cross reactions with non-toxic proteins,
specific antibodies and target antigens are required. A synthetic 19 amino acid peptide of A gliadin has been shown to cause deterioration
in the morphology of small intestinal biopsy specimens of coeliac
patients in remission.
Aims—To develop an assay for detection of gluten in foods, based on measurement of a known toxic peptide.
Methods—A monoclonal antibody raised against the toxic A gliadin peptide, with a polyclonal anti-unfractionated gliadin capture antibody, was used to develop a double sandwich enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for the measurement of gluten in foods.
Results—Standard curves for gliadin and for rye, barley, and oat prolamins were produced. The sensitivity of the assay was 4 ng/ml of gliadin, 500 ng/ml for rye prolamins, and 1000 ng/ml for oat and barley prolamins. The assay could detect gluten in cooked foods, although at reduced sensitivity. Prolamins from coeliac non-toxic rice, maize, millet, and sorghum did not cross react in the assay. A variety of commercially available gluten- free foods were analysed; small quantities of gluten were detected in some products.
Conclusion—The assay may form the basis of a sensitive method for measurement of gluten in foods for consumption by patients with coeliac disease.
Keywords: gluten; gliadin; prolamin; coeliac disease; monoclonal antibodies