Bovine Milk Proteome in the First 9 Days: Protein Interactions in Maturation of the Immune and Digestive System of the Newborn

Zhang, L.; Boeren, J.A.; Hageman, J.A.; Hooijdonk, A.C.M. van; Vervoort, J.J.M.; Hettinga, K.A.


In order to better understand the milk proteome and its changes from colostrum to mature milk, samples taken at seven time points in the first 9 days from 4 individual cows were analyzed using proteomic techniques. Both the similarity in changes from day 0 to day 9 in the quantitative milk proteome, and the differences in specific protein abundance, were observed among four cows. One third of the quantified proteins showed a significant decrease in concentration over the first 9 days after calving, especially in the immune proteins (as much as 40 fold). Three relative high abundant enzymes (XDH, LPL, and RNASE1) and cell division and proliferation protein (CREG1) may be involved in the maturation of the gastro-intestinal tract. In addition, high correlations between proteins involved in complement and blood coagulation cascades illustrates the complex nature of biological interrelationships between milk proteins. The linear decrease of protease inhibitors and proteins involved in innate and adaptive immune system implies a protective role for protease inhibitor against degradation. In conclusion, the results found in this study not only improve our understanding of the role of colostrum in both host defense and development of the newborn calf but also provides guidance for the improvement of infant formula through better understanding of the complex interactions between milk proteins.