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J Dairy Res. 1989;56(3):357-62.

Biologically active casein peptides implicated in immunomodulation.

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  • 1Laboratoire des Protéines, UA CNRS 1188, Université de Paris V, France.


Maternal milk should not only be considered as a nutrient, but also as a protecting agent against aggressions from the neonate's new environment. Breast-feeding facilitates transmission of a passive immunity by multifunctional factors which have a direct effect on the neonate's resistance to bacterial and viral infections. Among these factors are the main milk proteins, the caseins: during enzymic digestion of human and bovine caseins, immunomodulating peptides are released. Corresponding synthetic peptides stimulated in vitro phagocytic activity of murine and of human macrophages and exerted in vivo a protective effect against Klebsiella pneumoniae infection of mice. These data suggest that casein peptides may exert a stimulating function on the immune system of the newborn.

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