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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Celiac disease: In vitro and in vivo safety and tolerability of wheat-free sorghum food products

item Ciacci, Carolina
item Maiuri, Luigi
item Caporaso, Nicola
item Bucci, Cristina
item Del Giudice, Luigi
item Massardo, Domenica Rita
item Pontieri, Paola
item Fonzo, Natale Di
item Bean, Scott
item Ioerger, Brian
item Londei, Marco

Submitted to: Clinical Nutrition
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/16/2007
Publication Date: 8/24/2007
Citation: Ciacci, C., Maiuri, L., Caporaso, N., Bucci, C., Del Giudice, L., Massardo, D., Pontieri, P., Fonzo, N., Bean, S., Ioerger, B.P., Londei, M. 2007. Celiac disease: In vitro and in vivo safety and tolerability of wheat-free sorghum food products. Clinical Nutrition. 26:799-805.

Interpretive Summary: Celiac disease is a condition in which certain people have an autoimmune reaction to proteins found in wheat and related cereals. It is estimated that roughly 1% of the U.S. population has celiac disease, for which there is no cure. Sorghum has been considered as a safe cereal grain for people with celiac disease to eat due to its similarity to maize. However, direct testing on the toxicity of sorghum has not been conducted. This project found that sorghum foods and peptides produced no toxic responses for sufferers of celiac disease. Thus wheat-free sorghum food products will provide a new source of food for people with celiac disease and new markets for sorghum producers.

Technical Abstract: Celiac disease is a condition in which genetically predisposed people have an autoimmune reaction to gluten proteins found in all wheat types and closely related cereals such as barley and rye. This reaction causes the formation of autoantibodies and the destruction of the villi in the small intestine, which results in malabsorption of nutrients and other gluten-induced autoimmune diseases. Sorghum is a cereal grain with potential to be developed into an important crop for human food products. The flour produced from white sorghum hybrids is light in color and has a bland, neutral taste that does not impart unusual colors or flavors to food products. These attributes make it desirable for use in wheat-free food products. While sorghum is considered as a safe food for celiac patients, primarily due to its relationship to maize, no direct testing has been conducted on its safety for gluten intolerance. Therefore studies are needed to assess its safety and tolerability in celiac patients. Thus the aim of the present study is to assess safety and tolerability of sorghum flour products in adult celiac disease patients, utilizing an in vitro and in vivo challenge. Results: sorghum protein digests did not elicit any morphometric or immunomediated alteration of duodenal explants from celiac patients. Patients fed daily for 5 days with sorghum-derived food product did not experience gastrointestinal or non-gastrointestinal symptoms and the level of anti-transglutaminase antibodies was unmodified at the end of the 5-days challenge. Conclusion: sorghum derived products did not show toxicity for celiac patients in both in vitro and in vivo challenge. Therefore sorghum can be considered safe for people with celiac disease.

Last Modified: 06/24/2017
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