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Protective Effects of Lactoferrin against Intestinal Mucosal Damage





Yakugaku Zasshi. 2008 Sep;128(9):1363-8.


Protective Effects of Lactoferrin against Intestinal Mucosal Damage Induced by Lipopolysaccharide in Human Intestinal Caco-2 Cells.


Hirotani Y, Ikeda K, Kato R, Myotoku M, Umeda T, Ijiri Y, Tanaka K. Laboratory of Clinical Pharmaceutics, Faculty of Pharmacy, Osaka Ohatani University.



Indirect evidence suggests that lactoferrin (Lf), a major iron-binding protein in human milk, induces enterocyte growth and proliferation, depending on its concentration and affects the function and permeability of the intestinal mucosa. The bacterial endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide, LPS) is known to cause mucosal hyperpermeability in vivo. However, protective effects of Lf against LPS-mediated intestinal mucosal damage and barrier function in epithelial cells are not yet fully clarified. The aim of this study was to investigate whether Lf can reduce the cellular injury and alter epithelial hyperpermeability caused by LPS in human intestinal Caco-2 cells. When cell viability was measured by a WST-1 assay (tetrazolium salt-based assay), the protective effects against LPS-induced damage to Caco-2 cells were observed at doses of 800 and 1000 mug/ml Lf. The barrier function of Caco-2 monolayer tight junctions was assessed by measuring transepithelial electrical resistance (TEER) and permeability of FITC-labeled dextran 4000 (FD-4). The treatment of Caco-2 cells with Lf at doses of 400 and 1000 mug/ml significantly increased TEER as compared to treatment with LPS alone for 2 h (p<0.05). Further, at doses of 400 and 1000 mug/ml, Lf inhibited the enhancement of LPS-mediated permeability in Caco-2 cell monolayer. The results of this study suggest that Lf may have protective effects against LPS-mediated intestinal mucosal damage and impairment of barrier function in intestinal epithelial cells.


PMID: 18758152 [PubMed - in process]









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  • Here's an interesting paper on the study of lactoferrin:

    A component of innate immunity prevents bacterial biofilm development

    "Antimicrobial factors form one arm of the innate immune system, which protects mucosal surfaces from bacterial infection. These factors can rapidly kill bacteria deposited on mucosal surfaces and prevent acute invasive infections. In many chronic infections, however, bacteria live in biofilms, which are distinct, matrix-encased communities specialized for surface persistence. The transition from a free-living, independent existence to a biofilm lifestyle can be devastating, because biofilms notoriously resist killing by host defence mechanisms and antibiotics. We hypothesized that the innate immune system possesses specific activity to protect against biofilm infections. Here we show that lactoferrin, a ubiquitous and abundant constituent of human external secretions, blocks bio-film development by the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This occurs at lactoferrin concentrations below those that kill or prevent growth. By chelating iron, lactoferrin stimulates twitching, a specialized form of surface motility, causing the bacteria to wander across the surface instead of forming cell clusters and biofilms. These findings reveal a specific anti-biofilm defence mechanism acting at a critical juncture in biofilm development, the time bacteria stop roaming as individuals and aggregate into durable communities"

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