Effects of bovine immunoglobulins on the human immune function

Can bovine milk and, in specific the milk immunoglobins (bIgs) support human immune function for a better response against infections and allergies? What are the optimal conditions for such immune support? Via which mechanisms and at what levels do these bIgs support immune function? We are trying to find answers to some of these questions.


Bovine milk is a nutrient-rich liquid and serves as a main part of the human diet. It contains numerous functional components that are important not only for their nutritional value but for their immunomodulatory properties. Milk contains immunoglobulins, hormones, growth factors, cytokines, antibacterials, enzymes, and other bioactive peptides that can interact with the consumer immune and non-immune cells and modulate immunological processes.

Project description

In this project, the focus is on the question of if and how bovine immunoglobulins from milk can influence the human immune system, mainly at mucosal tissues. The project will provide detailed information on potential effects and mechanisms by which milk immunoglobulins, mainly bovine IgG(bIgG), support the immune system against infections. The main focus will be on the role of immune complexes formed from the interaction of bIgG with human pathogens and check their potential effects on human immune function. Besides, I have been involved in a human infection challenge model to study the effects of food components on infection. In this model, we investigate host immunological responses during an ETEC infection.


Porbahaie and his colleagues worked on visualizing the binding of bovine IgG (bIgG)-pathogen immune complexes to immune cells. Binding and interaction of bIgG immune complexes with Fc gamma receptors on human monocytes require optimal conditions. On the dose-response challenge model, they showed that exposure of healthy participants to several primary doses of results in a protection against reinfection with the high dose of the same bacteria. This protection was accompanied by increased serum anti-IgG levels and enhanced response from monocytes and mDCs.