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Microb Pathog. 1990 May;8(5):315-23.

Anti-adhesive activity of human casein against Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae.

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Department of Clinical Immunology, University of Göteborg, Sweden.


The casein fraction of human milk was found to inhibit the attachment of Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae human respiratory tract epithelial cells. The inhibitory activity for S. pneumoniae remained after heat and trypsin treatment of the casein and was found in oligosaccharides released from casein. kappa-Casein, which is the most highly glycosylated casein component, inhibited pneumococcal attachment at concentrations similar to the whole casein fraction. The results are consistent with the known recognition of GlcNAc beta 1-3Gal by S. pneumoniae, since human milk and bovine colostrum, which contain GlcNAc, inhibited attachment, but mature bovine milk lacking GlcNAc did not. The effect on H. influenzae was similar to that on S. pneumoniae in that the attachment was inhibited by human casein and bovine colostrum, but not by either mature bovine milk or by the bovine casein fraction. The kappa-casein component of human milk was a less efficient inhibitor of H. influenzae attachment than the whole casein fraction and the free oligosaccharides were inactive. This anti-microbial effect of human casein represents a new mechanism for the protection by breast-milk against respiratory tract infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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