In vitro cytotoxic effect of bread wheat gliadin on the LoVo human adenocarcinoma cell line

E. Dolfini, L. Elli, T. Dasdia, B. Bufardeci, M. P. Colleoni, B. Costa, I. Floriani, M. L. Falini, N. Guerrieri, F. Forlani, M. T. Bardella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The pathogenesis of celiac disease is not completely understood but, although the initial step of the process is still unclear, an altered immune response seems to play a major role. Previous studies of the biological properties of gliadin have highlighted its cytotoxic effects, and the aim of this study was to develop an in vitro technique to study them. The LoVo (human colon adenocarcinoma) cell line grown in two-dimensional cultures was exposed to different concentrations of digested bread wheat gliadin (62, 125, 250, 500 and 750 μg/ml) for 48 h, after which cell growth and oxidative balance (the content of reduced glutathione (GSH), and peroxidase, transferase and reductase activity) was evaluated. Other food proteins were used as controls. Our data revealed a statistically significant inhibition of cell growth in proportion to the gliadin concentration (from 26 to 100%), combined with a decrease in GSH content (-38% at 500 μg/ml) and reduced enzymatic activity (-30% at 500 μg/ml). The controls did not show any noxious effect. Our results confirm the usefulness of LoVo cells in evaluating gliadin cytotoxicity and that they can be used to investigate the biological properties of gliadin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-337
Number of pages7
JournalToxicology in Vitro
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Cytotoxicity
  • Gliadin
  • LoVo cell line

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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