Celiac research | They identify a molecule that could be used to treat celiac disease

A study conducted by scientists from the Institute of Molecular Biology of Barcelona (IBMB) of CSIC has identified a molecule that could counteract the effect of toxic peptides that cause celiac disease.

The molecule studied is with neprosinwhich is found naturally in the digestive fluid of the carnivorous plant Nepenthes ventrata, explained the CSIC in a press release on Friday.

As revealed by the work, led by researcher F. Xavier Gomis-Rüth ​​​​​​and whose first signatories are researchers Laura del Amo-Maestro and Soraia Mendes, all from the IBMB-CSIC, neprosin is a promising possibility of treating celiac disease.

The study, published in the journal “Nature Communications”, deciphered the mechanism of action of the moleculeits structure, as well as its most relevant characteristics for a possible treatment of the disease.

The results of the work show that neprosin can degrade the 33-mer peptide – one of the main triggers of celiac disease – before it reaches the intestine, which could prevent this autoimmune inflammatory response.

A promising avenue is that of molecules that destroy toxic peptidesand which can be taken orally, such as lactase tablets taken by people with lactose intolerance,” Gomis-Rüth ​​explained.

Such a treatment must contain a molecule capable of degrading toxic peptides and be harmless to the intestine; it must be sufficiently effective to degrade a good quantity of toxic peptides at reasonable doses; and must be active before passing through the intestine.

“The studies we have carried out have allowed us to verify that neprosin has enormous potential for to be developed as a drugsince it is much more active under the extreme conditions of digestion in the stomach than other candidate proteolytic enzymes currently under study, collectively called “glutenases”, for therapeutic application, and it combines all the characteristics required a priori for effective glutenase,” Gomis-Rüth ​​said.

The researcher explained that the next step will becarry out more specific tests verify this potential before moving on to clinical trials and working with mutant molecules that could perform even better.

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