Lactoferrin as a Natural Regimen for Selective Decontamination of the Digestive Tract: Recombinant Porcine Lactoferrin Expressed in the Milk of Transgenic Mice Protects Neonates from Pathogenic Challenge in the Gastrointestinal Tract

Chih-Ching Yen; Chien-Yu Lin; Kowit-Yu Chong; Tung-Chou Tsai; Chih-Jie Shen; Ming-Fong Lin; Chun-Yao Su; Hsiao-Ling Chen; Chuan-Mu Chen
February 2009
Journal of Infectious Diseases;2/15/2009, Vol. 199 Issue 4, p590
Academic Journal
Background. Nosocomial infection with antibiotic-resistant strains is a major threat to critical care medicine. Selective decontamination of the digestive tract (SDD) is one of the strategies used to reduce ventilator-associated pneumonia and sepsis in critically ill patients. In the present study, we performed pathogenic challenges of the digestive tract in a transgenic milk-fed animal model to test whether porcine lactoferrin (pLF) is an effective SDD regimen. Methods. Transgenic mice expressing recombinant pLF in their milk at a mean ± SD concentration of 120 ± 13.6 mg/L during the lactation stage fed normal CD-1 mice pups for 4 weeks. The pups were subsequently challenged with pathogenic Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Candida albicans. Results. Compared with the control groups fed wild-type (normal) milk, the groups fed pLF-enriched milk demonstrated statistically significant improvements in weight gain; lower bacterial numbers in intestinal fluid, blood, and liver; healthier microvilli in the small intestine; and alveoli in the lungs. Conclusions. Our results showed that oral administration of pLF-enriched milk to mice led to broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity in the digestive tract and protected the mucosa of the small intestine from injury, implying that pLF can be used as an effective SDD regimen.


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