Wheat amylase/trypsin inhibitors (ATIs): occurrence, function and health aspects

Sabrina Geisslitz*, Peter Weegels, Peter Shewry, Victor Zevallos, Stefania Masci, Mark Sorrells, Armando Gregorini, Mariastella Colomba, Daisy Jonkers, Xin Huang, Roberto De Giorgio, Giacomo P. Caio, Stefano D’Amico, Colette Larré, Fred Brouns

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)


Amylase/trypsin inhibitors (ATIs) are widely consumed in cereal-based foods and have been implicated in adverse reactions to wheat exposure, such as respiratory and food allergy, and intestinal responses associated with coeliac disease and non-coeliac wheat sensitivity. ATIs occur in multiple isoforms which differ in the amounts present in different types of wheat (including ancient and modern ones). Measuring ATIs and their isoforms is an analytical challenge as is their isolation for use in studies addressing their potential effects on the human body. ATI isoforms differ in their spectrum of bioactive effects in the human gastrointestinal (GI), which may include enzyme inhibition, inflammation and immune responses and of which much is not known. Similarly, although modifications during food processing (exposure to heat, moisture, salt, acid, fermentation) may affect their structure and activity as shown in vitro, it is important to relate these changes to effects that may present in the GI tract. Finally, much of our knowledge of their potential biological effects is based on studies in vitro and in animal models. Validation by human studies using processed foods as commonly consumed is warranted. We conclude that more detailed understanding of these factors may allow the effects of ATIs on human health to be better understood and when possible, to be ameliorated, for example by innovative food processing. We therefore review in short our current knowledge of these proteins, focusing on features which relate to their biological activity and identifying gaps in our knowledge and research priorities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2873-2880
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Nutrition
Issue number6
Early online date2 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2022


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