Journal of Dairy Research

Original Articles

Inhibition of proliferative responses of mouse spleen lymphocytes and rabbit Peyer's patch cells by bovine milk caseins and their digests

Hajime Otania1 and Isao Hataa1

a1 Laboratory of Applied Biochemistry of Animal Products, Faculty of Agriculture, Shinshu University, Minamiminowa-mura 399–45, Japan

SUMMARY

The modulating effect of bovine milk casein components and their digests on the proliferative responses of mouse spleen lymphocytes and rabbit Peyer's patch cells induced or not induced by mitogens has been studied with a colorimetric assay using 3-(4, 5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide. All the casein components and their digests tested had little mitogenic effect on the proliferative responses of mouse spleen lymphocytes and rabbit Peyer's patch cells. Intact κ-casein significantly inhibited the proliferative responses of mouse spleen lymphocytes and Peyer's patch cells induced by mitogens such as lipopolysaccharide from Salmonella typhimurium, concanavalin A, phytohaemagglutinin and pokeweed mitogen. In contrast, intact αsl-casein and β-casein had little effect. κ-Casein had an inhibitory effect after digesti on by pancreatin or trypsin, but not after pepsin or chymotrypsin digestion. Both pancreatin and trypsin digests of αsl-casein and -casein significantly inhibited the proliferative responses of mouse spleen lymphocytes and rabbit Peyer's patch cells induced by mitogens, whereas pepsin and chymotrypsin digests of both caseins were without effect. Moreover, the trypsin digest of each casein component had an inhibitory effect on mouse spleen lymphocyte proliferation in the absence of mitogen. Since trypsin is a major proteinase in pancreatin, the substrate specificity of trypsin seems to be important for the formation of the inhibitory peptides from casein components. These observations suggest that intact κ-casein and some peptides formed from milk casein components by the action of trypsin may suppress the immune responsiveness of neonates.

(Received April 22 1994)

(Accepted August 01 1994)