NYMC Faculty Publications

Associations Between Subclass Profile of IgG Response to Gluten and the Gastrointestinal and Motor Symptoms in Children With Cerebral Palsy

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Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition

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OBJECTIVE: Gastrointestinal problems are often seen in children with cerebral palsy, although the etiology and underlying mechanisms are not fully understood. Recent data point to significantly elevated levels of IgG antibody to dietary gluten in cerebral palsy independent of celiac disease, a gluten-mediated autoimmune enteropathy. We aimed to further characterize this antibody response by examining its subclass distribution and target reactivity in the context of relevant patient symptom profile.

METHODS: Study participants included children with cerebral palsy (n = 70) and celiac disease (n = 85), as well as unaffected controls (n = 30). Serum IgG antibody to gluten was investigated for subclass distribution, pattern of reactivity towards target proteins, and relationship with gastrointestinal symptoms and motor function.

RESULTS: The anti-gluten IgG antibody response in the cerebral palsy cohort was constituted of all 4 subclasses. In comparison with celiac disease, however, IgG1, IgG2, and IgG3 subclasses were significantly lower, whereas the IgG4 response was significantly higher in cerebral palsy. Within the cohort of cerebral palsy patients, levels of anti-gluten IgG1, IgG3, and IgG4 were greater in those with gastrointestinal symptoms, and the IgG3 subclass antibody correlated inversely with gross motor function. The anti-gluten IgG antibodies targeted a broad range of gliadin and glutenin proteins.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings reveal an anti-gluten IgG subclass distribution in cerebral palsy that is significantly different from that in celiac disease. Furthermore, the observed association between IgG subclass and symptom profile is suggestive of a relationship between the immune response and disease pathophysiology that may indicate a role for defects in gut immune and barrier function in cerebral palsy.