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The effect of whey acidic protein fractions on bone loss in the ovariectomised rat

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 March 2007

Marlena C. Kruger*
Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health, Massey University, Private Bag 11222, Palmerston, North New Zealand
Gabrielle G. Plimmer
Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health, Massey University, Private Bag 11222, Palmerston, North New Zealand
Linda M. Schollum
Fonterra Research Centre, Private Bag 11029, Palmerston, North New Zealand
Neill Haggarty
Fonterra Research Centre, Private Bag 11029, Palmerston, North New Zealand
Satyendra Ram
Fonterra Research Centre, Private Bag 11029, Palmerston, North New Zealand
Kate Palmano
Fonterra Research Centre, Private Bag 11029, Palmerston, North New Zealand
*Corresponding author: Associate Professor M. C. Kruger, fax +64 6 350 5446, email
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Bovine milk has been shown to contain bioactive components with bone-protective properties. Earlier studies on bovine milk whey protein showed that it suppressed bone resorption in the female ovariectomised rat. A new osteotropic component was subsequently identified in the whey basic protein fraction, but bone bioactivity may also be associated with other whey fractions. In the present study, we investigated whether acidic protein fractions isolated from bovine milk whey could prevent bone loss in mature ovariectomised female rats. Six-month-old female rats were ovariectomised (OVX) or left intact (sham). The OVX rats were randomised into four groups. One group remained the control (OVX), whereas three groups were fed various whey acidic protein fractions from milk whey as 3g/kg diet for 4 months. Outcomes were bone mineral density, bone biomechanics and markers of bone turnover. Bone mineral density of the femurs indicated that one of the whey AF over time caused a recovery of bone lost from OVX. Plasma C-telopeptide of type I collagen decreased significantly in all groups except OVX control over time, indicating an anti-resorptive effect of whey acidic protein. Biomechanical data showed that the AF may affect bone architecture as elasticity was increased by one of the whey AF. The femurs of AF-supplemented rats all showed an increase in organic matter. This is the first report of an acidic whey protein fraction isolated from milk whey that may support the recovery of bone loss in vivo.

Research Article
Copyright © The Nutrition Society 2005


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