Send to

Choose Destination
J Nutr. 2010 Feb;140(2):382-91. doi: 10.3945/jn.109.109645. Epub 2009 Dec 23.

A bovine whey protein extract stimulates human neutrophils to generate bioactive IL-1Ra through a NF-kappaB- and MAPK-dependent mechanism.

Author information

Centre de Recherche en Rhumatologie et Immunologie and Department of Medicine, Université Laval, Québec, Canada.


Innate immunity depends on the efficiency of neutrophils to be activated rapidly to restore homeostasis. It can benefit from priming agents that enhance neutrophil capacity to respond more efficiently to a subsequent stimulation. Among natural products, a bovine whey protein extract (WPE) has been shown to prime normal human blood neutrophils by enhancing their chemotaxis, phagocytosis, oxidative burst, and degranulation. These leukocytes are also an important source of cytokines, some of which have antiinflammatory functions. We investigated the role of WPE, as well as its mechanisms of action, on the production of interleukin (IL)-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra) by neutrophils in vitro. WPE dose-dependently stimulated de novo synthesis and release of IL-1Ra by normal human blood neutrophils. Among the major proteins present in WPE, beta-lactoglobulin (beta-LG) and alpha-lactalbumin (alpha-LA) were the only active components. They had additive effects that exactly reproduced those of WPE. Similarly to WPE, they also stimulated the accumulation of IL-1beta, IL-8, IL-6, macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-1alpha, MIP-1beta, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha. However, neutrophils incubated with WPE, beta-LG, and alpha-LA produced IL-1Ra in excess of IL-1beta and the ratio IL-1Ra:IL-1beta increased linearly. The amounts of IL-1Ra stimulated by WPE or beta-LG + alpha-LA significantly reduced the IL-1 activity in EL4 cells. Inhibitors of p38 and extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERK)1/2 mitogen-activated protein kinase, and nuclear factor-kappaB cascades reduced neutrophil production of IL-1Ra. Our data suggest that WPE, through beta-LG + alpha-LA, has immunomodulatory properties and the potential to increase host defenses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center