Molecular and Biotechnological Advances in Milk Proteins in Relation to Human Health

Jagat R. Kanwar, Rupinder K. Kanwar, Xueying Sun, Vasu Punj, H. Matta, Somasundaram M. Morley, Andrew Parratt, Munish Puri, Rakesh Sehgal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Citations (Scopus)


Milk and colostrum is a rich source of proteins/peptides which have crucial roles in both neonates and adults. Milk bioactive proteins and peptides are potential health-enhancing nutraceuticals for food. Many bioactive peptides/ proteins may be used as nutraceuticals, for example, in the treatment of cancer, asthma, diarrhea, hypertension, thrombosis, dental diseases, as well as mineral malabsorption, and immunodeficiency. The following components of milk are of particular interest in the recent years: 1) Lactoferrin [Lf] has antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antiparasite and antitumor activities and accelerates immunomodulatory properties. Lf is a potent inhibitor for several enveloped and naked viruses, such as rotavirus, enterovirus and adenovirus. Lf is resistant to tryptic digestion and breast-fed infants excrete high levels of faecal Lf, so that its effect on viruses replicating in the gastrointestinal tract is of great interest. 2) Casein has been protective in experimental bacteremia by eliciting myelopoiesis. Casein hydrolyzates were also protective in diabetic animals, reduced the tumor growth and diminished colicky symptoms in infants. 3) A Proline rich polypeptide [PRP] revealed variety of immunotropic functions, including promotion of Tcell activation and inhibition of autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis. 4) α-Lactalbumin [LA] demonstrates antiviral, antitumor and anti-stress properties. 5) Lactoperoxidase shows antibacterial properties. 6) Lysozyme is effective in treatment of periodentitis and prevention of tooth decay. Taken together, milk-derived proteins and peptides are bio-available and safe for the prevention and treatment of various disorders in humans and may play a complementary [natural agents] rather than a substitutional role to the toxic synthetic pharmacological drugs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)308-338
Number of pages31
JournalCurrent Protein and Peptide Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


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