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Consumption of transgenic milk containing the antimicrobials lactoferrin and lysozyme separately and in conjunction by 6-week-old pigs improves intestinal and systemic health

  • Caitlin A Cooper (a1), Elizabeth A Maga (a1) and James D Murray (a1) (a2)


Lactoferrin and lysozyme are antimicrobial and immunomodulatory proteins produced in high quantities in human milk that aid in gastrointestinal (GI) health and have beneficial effects when supplemented separately and in conjunction in human and animal diets. Ruminants produce low levels of lactoferrin and lysozyme; however, there are genetically engineered cattle and goats that respectively secrete recombinant human lactoferrin (rhLF-milk), and human lysozyme (hLZ-milk) in their milk. Effects of consumption of rhLF-milk, hLZ-milk and a combination of rhLF-and hLZ-milk were tested on young pigs as an animal model for the GI tract of children. Compared with control milk-fed pigs, pigs fed a combination of rhLF and hLZ (rhLF+hLZ) milk had a significantly deeper intestinal crypts and a thinner lamina propria layer. Pigs fed hLZ-milk, rhLF-milk and rhLF+hLZ had significantly reduced mean corpuscular volume (MCV) and red blood cells (RBCs) were significantly increased in pigs fed hLZ-milk and rhLF-milk and tended to be increased in rhLF+hLZ-fed pigs, indicating more mature RBCs. These results support previous research demonstrating that pigs fed milk containing rhLF or hLZ had decreased intestinal inflammation, and suggest that in some parameters the combination of lactoferrin and lysozyme have additive effects, in contrast to the synergistic effects reported when utilising in-vitro models.


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