Clearance, Localization and Catabolism of Intravenously Administered Protein Antigens in Lactating Mice
Dietary protein antigens including wheat, cows milk proteins, and ovalbumin have been identified in breast milk of lactating women (1–3). The quantity of antigen reported has varied depending on the individual study. Wheat (3) and cows milk proteins (1) were detected by immunoprecipitation at concentrations of about 1 µg/ml, while ovalbumin (OVA) and beta-lacto-globulin (a specific cow’s milk protein not present in human serum or milk) were detected in the range of 100 pg/ml to 6 ng/ml (2). Methodologic variations have been suggested to account for these differences in dietary antigen levels in breast milk (2). An alternate hypothesis is that inherent differences in the protein molecules themselves, in their processing in the lactating female or in their mechanism(s) of transport into breast milk, may account for the differences in reported concentrations. In the present experiments, we examined the pattern of clearance of four radiolabeled protein antigens from maternal circulation in the mouse, and their localization and catabolism within selected tissues.
KeywordsMammary Gland Breast Milk Mammary Tissue Protein Antigen Massachusetts General Hospital
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