Celiac disease (CD) is a common intestinal inflammatory disease involving both a genetic background and environmental triggers. The ingestion of gluten, a proteic component of several cereals, represents the main hexogen factor implied in CD onset that involves concomitant innate and adaptive immune responses to gluten. Immunogenicity of some gluten sequences are strongly enhanced as the consequence of the deamidation of specific glutamine residues by type 2 transglutaminase (TG2), a ubiquitous enzyme whose expression is up-regulated in the intestine of CD patients. A short gluten sequence resistant to intestinal proteases, the α-gliadin peptide 31-43, seems to modulate TG2 function in the gut; on the other hand, the enzyme can affect the biological activity of this peptide. In addition, an intense auto-immune response towards TG2 is a hallmark of CD. Auto-antibodies exert a range of biological effects on several cells, effects that in part overlap with those induced by peptide 31-43. In this review, we delineate a scenario in which TG2, anti-TG2 antibodies and peptide 31-43 closely relate to each other, thus synergistically participating in CD starting and progression.
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