Partially hydrolyzed whey proteins prevent clinical symptoms in a cow's milk allergy mouse model and enhance regulatory T and B cell frequencies

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Partially hydrolyzed cow's milk proteins are used to prevent cow's milk allergy in children. Here we studied the immunomodulatory mechanisms of partial cow's milk hydrolysates in vivo.

Methods and results

Mice were sensitized with whey or partially hydrolyzed whey using cholera toxin. Whey-specific IgE levels were measured to determine sensitization and immune cell populations from spleen, mesenteric lymph nodes and Peyer's patches after oral whey administration were measured by flowcytometry. Whey-specific IgE and IgG1 levels in partial whey hydrolysate sensitized animals were enhanced, but challenge did not induce clinical symptoms. This immunomodulatory effect of partial whey hydrolysate was associated with increased regulatory B and T cells in the spleen, together with a prevention of IgM-IgA class switching in the mesenteric lymph nodes and an increased Th1 and activated Th17 in the Peyer's patches.


Partial hydrolysate sensitization did not induce whey-induced clinical symptoms, even though sensitization was established. Increased regulatory cell populations in the systemic immune system and a prevention of increased total Th1 and activated Th17 in the intestinal immune organs could contribute to the suppression of allergic symptoms. This knowledge is important for a better understanding of the beneficial effects of hydrolysates.

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