Whey protein is a by-product of cheese and casein manufacturing processes. It contains highly bioactive molecules, such as epidermal growth factor, colony-stimulating factor, transforming growth factor-α and-β, insulin-like growth factor, and fibroblast growth factor. Effects of whey protein on immune responses after antigen (hemagglutinin peptide) injection were evaluated in rats. Experimental diets were formulated based on NIH-31M and supplemented with 1% amino acids mixture (CON) or 1% whey protein concentrate (WPC) to generate isocaloric and isonitrogenous diets. Rats were fed the experimental diets for two weeks and then exposed to antigen two times (Days 0 and 14). Blood was collected on Days 0, 7, 14, and 21 for hematological analysis. The WPC group showed decreased IgA and cytotoxic T cells before the antigen injection (Day 0) but increased IgG, IL-2, and IL-4 after antigen injection due to increased B cells and T cells. Helper T cells were increased at Days 14 and 21, but cytotoxic T cells were not affected by WPC. WPC may activate adaptive immunity (IgG) against antigen by modulating helper T cells. Bioactive molecules might contribute to the immune-enhancing effects of whey protein concentrate.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding: This work was supported by a Korea University Grant.
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
- Whey protein concentrate
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Science
- Health(social science)
- Health Professions (miscellaneous)
- Plant Science