Lactoferrin Secretion into Mouse Milk
Lactoferrin, one of four major protein components of human milk, has long been thought to protect the breast and the infant against infection through its bacteriostatic and bacteriocidal activity1. However, it has also been reported to stimulate growth of the infant intestine2 and to modulate the activity of immune cells3. Lactoferrin shows both tissue-specific and species-specific regulation. In the mouse uterus, for example, it is clear that estrogen is a major regulator of lactoferrin secretion4. In humans and cows lactoferrin appears to be present in milk at higher levels during the onset of lactation5,6 and to decrease during established lactation. However, the actual rate of secretion is highly species-dependent. Lactoferrin secretion is especially low during established lactation in ruminants; correspondingly cows’ milk has less than 0.1 mg/ml lactoferrin5,7. In both human and cow mammary secretions lactoferrin concentrations are high at involution and in milk from the post-mastitic gland, a phenomenon that has been best documented in the cow5,8.
KeywordsMammary Gland Human Milk Mammary Epithelial Cell Secretion Product Mouse Mammary Gland
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