Influence of oral lactoferrin on Mycobacterium tuberculosis induced immunopathology.
Tuberculosis (Edinb). 2011 Dec ;91 Suppl 1:S105-13. Epub 2011 Dec 3. PMID: 22138562
Kerry J Welsh
The ability of lactoferrin to provide protection and decrease immunopathology in infectious diseases was evaluated using an aggressive aerosol model of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) infection. C57BL/6 mice were challenged with MTB strain Erdman and treated with 0.5% bovine lactoferrin added to the drinking water starting at day 0 or day 7 post-infection. Mice were sacrificed at three weeks post-challenge and evaluated for organ bacterial burden, lung histopathology, and ELISpot analysis of the lung and spleen for immune cell phenotypes. Mice given tap water alone had lung log10 colony forming units (CFUs) of 7.5± 0.3 at week 3 post-infection. Lung CFUs were significantly decreased in mice given lactoferrin starting the day of infection (6.4 ± 0.7), as well as in mice started therapeutically on lactoferrin at day 7 after established infection (6.5 ± 0.4). Quantitative immunohistochemistry using multispectral imaging demonstrated that lung inflammation was significantly reduced in both groups of lactoferrin treated mice, with decreased foamy macrophages, increased total lymphocytes, and increased numbers of CD4+ and CD8+ cells. ELISpot analysis showed that lactoferrin treated mice had increased numbers of CD4 + IFN-γ+ and IL-17 producing cells in the lung, cells that have protective functions during MTB infection. Lactoferrin alone did not alter the proliferation of MTB in either broth or macrophage culture, but enhanced IFN-γ mediated MTB killing by macrophages in a nitric oxide dependent manner. These studies indicate that lactoferrin may be a novel therapeutic for the treatment of tuberculosis, and may be useful in infectious diseases to reduced immune-mediated tissue damage.