Transcriptomic profiling of intestinal epithelial cells in response to human, bovine and commercial bovine lactoferrins

Rulan Jiang, Bo Lönnerdal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Lactoferrin (Lf) is an iron-binding glycoprotein present in high concentration in human milk. It is a pleiotropic protein and involved in diverse bioactivities, such as stimulation of cell proliferation and immunomodulatory activities. Lf is partly resistant to proteolysis in the gastrointestinal tract. Thus, Lf may play important roles in intestinal development. Due to differences in amino acid sequences and isolation methods, Lfs from human and bovine milk as well as commercially available bovine Lf (CbLf) may differ functionally or exert their functions via various mechanisms. To provide a potential basis for further applications of CbLf, we compared effects of Lfs on intestinal transcriptomic profiling using an intestinal epithelial cell model, human intestinal epithelial crypt-like cells (HIEC). All Lfs significantly stimulated proliferation of HIEC and no significant differences were found among these three proteins. Microarray assays were used to investigate transcriptomic profiling of intestinal epithelial cells in response to Lfs. Selected genes were verified by RT-PCR with a high validation rate. Genes significantly regulated by hLf, bLf, and CbLf were 150, 395 and 453, respectively. Fifty-four genes were significantly regulated by both hLf and CbLf, whereas 129 genes were significantly modulated by bLf and CbLf. Although only a limited number of genes were regulated by all Lfs, the three Lfs positively influenced cellular development and immune functions based on pathway analysis using IPA (Ingenuity). Lfs stimulate cellular and intestinal development and immune functions via various signaling pathways, such as Wnt/β-catenin signaling, interferon signaling and IL-8 signaling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)831-841
Number of pages11
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 31 2014


  • Bovine lactoferrin
  • Cell proliferation
  • Human lactoferrin
  • Immune function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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