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Lactoferrin (Lf) is a milk iron-binding glycoprotein that plays
a role in
iron transport and acts as both a bacteriostatic and a growth modulating
aim of this study was to investigate the nature of immune responses induced
repeated oral administration of bovine milk Lf in mice. Groups of ten female
BALB/c mice were fed daily for 4 weeks with two doses of protein antigen:
(0·05 mg/g body weight per d) or high (1 mg/g body weight
per d) dose of Lf, or
water as a control. A fourth group was immunized intramuscularly with 0·01
in complete Freund's adjuvant. Anti-Lf IgA and IgG were detected in
fluid and serum of mice given Lf. Total immunoglobulins were higher in
fluid in Lf groups than in the control group. No difference could be detected
serum. IgA and IgG secretion was enhanced in Peyer's patches and spleen
from Lf-fed mice, in comparison with controls. [3H]
thymidine uptake into Peyer's patch and
spleen cells from both control and Lf-fed mice was enhanced by 75 μg
Lf/ml in vitro,
but Lf groups had a greater proliferation rate than the control group.
suggested that Lf could act as an immunostimulating factor on the mucosal
system and that activation of the mucosal immune system is dependent on
ability of Lf to bind to the intestinal mucosa.
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