Supplementing suckling rats with whey protein concentrate modulates the immune response and ameliorates rat rotavirus-induced diarrhea.
Arch Biochem Biophys. 2009 Sep 3. PMID: 19022963
Group A rotaviruses (RV) are the most common causative agents of acute gastroenteritis in children <2 y. The present study was designed to establish the effect of a bovine whey protein concentrate (WPC) in a RV infection model in suckling rats. From d 3 of life, suckling Lewis rats received daily supplements of WPC, WPC plus lactoferrin (LF), standard infant formula (SIF), or water (RV-infected group and an untreated, uninfected reference group). On d 8 of life, heterologous simian RV SA-11 was inoculated orally in the WPC-RV, WPC+LF-RV, SIF-RV, and RV groups. WPC and WPC+LF reduced diarrhea incidence from approximately 90% in RV group to approximately 60% in WPC-RV and WPC+LF-RV groups (P < 0.05), whereas the area under the curve (AUC) of severity along time diminished from approximately 10 AUC in the RV group to approximately 6 AUC in both supplemented groups (P < 0.05). Serum levels of anti-RV antibodies, splenocyte proliferation, and interferon-gamma secretion after specific stimulation were significantly lower in the WPC-RV and WPC+LF-RV groups than in the SIF-RV and RV groups. In the intraepithelial intestinal compartment, RV infection increased the proportion of typical mucosal T cells (IE-T CD8alphaalpha+); however, this modification was controlled by WPC and WPC+LF supplementation. In general, for most of the parameters studied, the SIF-RV and RV groups did not differ. In summary, daily supplementation with WPC or WPC+LF in early life considerably reduces the severity of RV-induced acute gastroenteritis and modulates the immune response against the pathogen.