Gluten exorphin

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Gluten exorphines are a group of opioid peptides which are formed during digestion of the gluten protein. It has been hypothesized that children with autism have abnormal leakage from the gut of these compounds, which then pass into the brain and disrupt brain function. This is partly the basis for the gluten-free, casein-free diet. Studies of this diet have had important methodological flaws and the scientific evidence is not adequate to make treatment recommendations.[1]

There are five known gluten exorphines with known structure:

Gluten exorphine A4

  • Structure: H-Gly-Tyr-Tyr-Pro-OH
  • Chemical formula: C25H30N4O7
  • Molecular weight: 498.52 g/mol

Gluten exorphine A5

  • Structure: H-Gly-Tyr-Tyr-Pro-Thr-OH
  • Chemical formula: C29H37N5O9
  • Molecular weight: 599.64 g/mol

Gluten exorphine B4

  • Structure: H-Tyr-Gly-Gly-Trp-OH
  • Chemical formula: C24H27N5O6
  • Molecular weight: 481.50 g/mol

Gluten exorphine B5

  • Structure: H-Tyr-Gly-Gly-Trp-Leu-OH
  • Chemical formula: C30H38N6O7
  • Molecular weight: 594.66 g/mol

Gluten exorphine C

  • Structure: H-Tyr-Pro-Ile-Ser-Leu-OH
  • Chemical formula: C29H45N5O8
  • Molecular weight: 591.70 g/mol


  1. Christison GW, Ivany K (2006). "Elimination diets in autism spectrum disorders: any wheat amidst the chaff?". J Dev Behav Pediatr. 27 (2 Suppl 2): S162–71. PMID 16685183.