A Comparative Study of Modern and Heirloom Wheat on Indicators of Gastrointestinal Health

Bryant H. Keirns, Kendall L. Anderson, Babajide A. Ojo, Karley F. Washburn, Guadalupe Davila El-Rassi, Stan A. Lightfoot, Brett F. Carver, Edralin A. Lucas, Brenda J. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Wheat consumption has declined amid growing concerns about gluten-sensitivity. To determine if genetic manipulation of wheat contributes to systemic and localized gut inflammation, we compared the effects of the modern variety Gallagher and a blend of two heirloom varieties, Turkey and Kharkof, on measures of gut inflammation, structural characteristics, and barrier integrity under normal and Western diet (WD) conditions in C57BL/6 mice. Indicators of gut inflammation, including lymphocyte infiltration and cytokine expression, were largely unaffected by WD or wheat, although WD elevated interferon-γ(Ifng) and heirloom varieties modestly reduced interleukin-17 (Il17) in the context of WD. WD negatively affected jejunal villi structure, while the modern variety improved villi structure in the ileum. Relative mRNA and tight junction proteins and serum lipopolysaccharide binding protein were unaltered by WD or wheat. These findings indicate that the modern variety did not compromise barrier function or contribute to gut inflammation compared to its heirloom predecessor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14027-14037
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number51
StatePublished - 26 Dec 2019


  • gastrointestinal tract
  • gluten
  • gut permeability
  • inflammation
  • mucosal immunity
  • Western diet
  • wheat


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