Lactoferrin prevents dendritic cell-mediated human immunodeficiency virus type 1 transmission by blocking the DC-SIGN--gp120 interaction.
J Virol. 2005 Mar ;79(5):3009-15. PMID: 15709021
One of the cell types first encountered by human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) following sexual transmission are dendritic cells (DC). DC capture HIV-1 through C-type lectin receptors, of which the best studied example is DC-SIGN, which mediates HIV-1 internalization. DC can keep the virus infectious for several days and are able to transmit HIV-1 to CD4(+) T cells. We tested proteins from milk and serum for their ability to block DC-mediated HIV-1 transmission, of which bovine lactoferrin (bLF) is the most potent inhibitor. bLF binds strongly to DC-SIGN, thus preventing virus capture and subsequent transmission. Interestingly, bLF is a much more efficient inhibitor of transmission than human lactoferrin. Since bLF is nontoxic and easy to purify in large quantities, it is an interesting candidate microbicide against HIV-1. Another advantage of bLF is its ability to block HIV-1 replication in T cells. DC-mediated capture of a bLF-resistant HIV-1 variant that was selected during long-term culturing in T cells could still be blocked by bLF. This underscores the usefulness of bLF as a microbicide drug to prevent HIV-1 transmission.