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Vet Res. 2002 Jul-Aug;33(4):413-9.

Bovine milk fat globules do not inhibit C5a chemotactic activity.

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Laboratoire de Pathologie Infectieuse et Immunologie, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Nouzilly, France.


The C5a complement fragment is a potent inflammatory molecule but its contribution to the inflammatory response of the mammary gland remains uncertain. One of the unresolved questions is the possible interference of whole milk with C5a. In this study, the chemotactic activity ofpurifled bovine C5a was tested in the presence of whole or skimmed milk. Milk from healthy glands acted as a chemoattractant, which could mask any inhibitory effect on C5a activity. To circumvent milk activity, washed milk fat globules were incubated with optimal (1 nM) or suboptimal (0.1 nM) concentrations of C5a, and the eventual chemoattractant activity was measured. There was no reduction in C5a-induced migration through a polycarbonate filter or shape-change of neutrophils. The concentrations of C5a determined by ELISA in the fluid phase were not reduced after incubation with the fat globules. It can be concluded that bovine milk fat globules do not trap or degrade C5a. Although these results do not explain the inhibitory effect of whole milk in the C5a-induced recruitment of neutrophils in milk, they suggest that milk does not inhibit the second major activity of C5a (apart from chemotaxis), i.e. the stimulation of phagocytic and bactericidal activities of neutrophils.

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