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J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 1995 Oct;21(3):288-96.

Human milk kappa-casein and inhibition of Helicobacter pylori adhesion to human gastric mucosa.

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  • 1Symbicom AB, Umeä University, Sweden.


Readily digested caseins, which account for almost half of the protein content in human milk, are important as nutritional protein for breast-fed infants. It has also been advocated that part of the antimicrobial activity of human milk resides in the caseins, most likely the glycosyated K-casein. Top explore this possibility, we purified K-casein from human milk to homogeneity by a two-step size-exclusion chromatography procedure. Purified human K-casein, in contrast to K-casein purified from bovine milk, effectively inhibited the cell lineage-specific adhesion of fluoroisothiocyanate-labeled Helicobacter pylori to human gastric surface mucous cells. The inhibitory activity was abolished by metaperiodate oxidation and considerably reduced by preincubation with alpha-L-fucosidase but not with alpha-N-acetylneuraminidase or endo-beta-galactosidase. These results strongly support the view that fucose containing carbohydrate moieties of human K-casein are important for inhibition of H. pylori adhesion and, thus, infection. They also suggest that breastfeeding may protect from infection by H. pylori during early life and that species-specific glycosylation patterns, as illustrated by human bovine K-casein, partly determine both the narrow host spectrum of this human gastric pathogen and the capacity to resist infection.

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