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Effects of orally administered bovine lactoferrin on the immune system of healthy volunteers.

Yamauchi K, Wakabayashi H, Hashimoto S, Teraguchi S, Hayasawa H, Tomita M

Adv Exp Med Biol 1998 443:261-5

Adv Exp Med Biol • Volume 443

A protective effect of bovine lactoferrin (Lf) during lethal bacteraemia has been reported in mice. Also, protective effects of orally administered bovine Lf have been reported in cases of intractable stomatitis in cats and Cryptocaryon irritans infection in red sea bream.

In this study, we examined the effects of orally administered bovine Lf on the immune system of healthy volunteers. Ten healthy male volunteers (age range of 31 to 55 years old) were given bovine Lf (2 g/body/day) for 4 weeks. Blood samples were drawn before, during and after administration of Lf. Phagocytic activity and superoxide production activity of polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMN) were evaluated from the number of PMN phagocytizing polymer particles and by the dichlorofluorescein (DCFH) oxidation assay, respectively.

The expression levels of CD11b, CD16 and CD56 molecules on leukocytes were quantified using flow cytometry. The phagocytic activity of PMN increased during the period of Lf administration in 3 of the 10 volunteers. In 2 of the 3 volunteers in which the phagocytic activity increased, PMN expressed CD16 at higher levels corresponding to the increase in 3 of the 10 volunteers, whereas the CD11b+ lymphocytes and CD56+ lymphocytes increased in 4 volunteers including the same 3 volunteers who showed an increase in CD16+.

These results suggest that the proportion of natural killer (NK) cells among the lymphocytes might have increased in these subjects. It was demonstrated that the phagocytic activity or superoxide production activity of PMN or the proportions of CD11b+, CD16+ and CD56+ in lymphocytes was influenced by Lf administration in 7 of the 10 volunteers, while the effects of Lf on the immune system differed in individual cases. These results suggest that Lf administration may influence primary activation of the host defense system.


Administration, Oral; Adult; Animal; Antigens, CD; Cats; Cattle; Human; Immune System; Killer Cells, Natural; Lactoferrin; Lymphocyte Transformation; Male; Mice; Middle Age; Neutrophils; Phagocytosis

Author Address
Nutritional Science Laboratory, Morinaga Milk Industry Co., Ltd., Kanagawa, Japan.