Author(s): Hettinga K, van Valenberg H, de Vries S, Boeren S, van Hooijdonk T,
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Abstract Milk is the single source of nutrients for the newborn mammal. The composition of milk of different mammals has been adapted during evolution of the species to fulfill the needs of the offspring. Milk not only provides nutrients, but it also serves as a medium for transfer of host defense components to the offspring. The host defense proteins in the milk of different mammalian species are expected to reveal signatures of evolution. The aim of this study is therefore to study the difference in the host defense proteome of human and bovine milk. We analyzed human and bovine milk using a shot-gun proteomics approach focusing on host defense-related proteins. In total, 268 proteins in human milk and 269 proteins in bovine milk were identified. Of these, 44 from human milk and 51 from bovine milk are related to the host defense system. Of these proteins, 33 were found in both species but with significantly different quantities. High concentrations of proteins involved in the mucosal immune system, immunoglobulin A, CD14, lactoferrin, and lysozyme, were present in human milk. The human newborn is known to be deficient for at least two of these proteins (immunoglobulin A and CD14). On the other hand, antimicrobial proteins (5 cathelicidins and lactoperoxidase) were abundant in bovine milk. The high concentration of lactoperoxidase is probably linked to the high amount of thiocyanate in the plant-based diet of cows. This first detailed analysis of host defense proteins in human and bovine milk is an important step in understanding the function of milk in the development of the immune system of these two mammals.
This article was published in PLoS One
and referenced in Journal of Metabolic Syndrome