So: "14 bacterial strains belonging to 32 species were isolated; 85 strains were able to grow in a medium containing gluten as the sole nitrogen source, 31 strains showed extracellular proteolytic activity against gluten protein and 27 strains showed peptidolytic activity towards the 33 mer peptide, an immunogenic peptide for celiac disease patients."
Those findings came from the paper published by Alexandra Herrán and colleagues  continuing a research theme discussed on this blog on how some of the trillions of bacteria that inhabit the human body - specifically the gastrointestinal (GI) tract - may possess some important gluten degrading properties (see here and see here).
With the requirement for further research, authors talk about how individuals might have their "own population of gluten-hydrolyzing bacteria" and how further knowledge in this area "could help to improve the quality of life of celiac disease patients" (where celiac or coeliac disease is the archetypal autoimmune condition triggered by the ingestion of dietary gluten and is managed by use of a gluten-free diet).
This area of work continues to fascinate me. It suggests for example, that the research chatter about the gut microbiome - factors affecting the gut microbiome - being linked to risk of coeliac disease might eventually turn out to be pretty important. Not least that a dysbiotic gut microbiome in relation to coeliac disease (see here) may affect some of those important gluten degrading bacterial species in particular. This might have repercussions for lots of areas; not least the prescription of antibiotics (see here) that can, for example, affect the quite delicate gut microbiome on quite a grand scale.
Such research also potentially extends to the idea that, outside of diagnosed coeliac disease, there may be a whole spectrum of gluten-related ills under the banner of non-coeliac gluten/wheat sensitivity (see here). If - and it is only an 'if' at this point - various gut bacterial species have special abilities when it comes to dining on something like dietary gluten, such effects are likely to extend to a whole range of people/labels not just core coeliac disease where gluten is implicated.
Does this research also suggests that probiotic supplementation might be indicated for some types of non-coeliac gluten/wheat sensitivity too...?
 Herrán AR. et al. Gluten-degrading bacteria are present in the human small intestine of healthy volunteers and celiac patients. Res Microbiol. 2017 May 16. pii: S0923-2508(17)30092-X.
Herrán AR, Pérez-Andrés J, Caminero A, Nistal E, Vivas S, Ruiz de Morales JM, & Casqueiro J (2017). Gluten-degrading bacteria are present in the human small intestine of healthy volunteers and celiac patients. Research in microbiology PMID: 28526528
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