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BioMed Research International
Volume 2016, Article ID 7123587, 12 pages
Research Article

β-Lactoglobulin Influences Human Immunity and Promotes Cell Proliferation

1Department and College of Biological Science and Technology, National Chiao Tung University, Hsinchu, Taiwan
2Institute of Molecular Medicine and Bioengineering, National Chiao Tung University, Hsinchu, Taiwan

Received 17 April 2016; Accepted 1 August 2016

Academic Editor: Frederick D. Quinn

Copyright © 2016 Chun San Tai et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


β-Lactoglobulin (LG) is suspected to enhance or modulate human immune responses. Moreover, LG is also hypothesized to increase human cell proliferation. However, these potential functions of LG have not been directly or thoroughly addressed. In this study, we demonstrated that LG is a potent stimulator of cell proliferation using a hybridoma cell (a splenocyte fused with a myeloma cell) model. LG’s ability to promote cell proliferation was lost when the protein is denatured. To further investigate the influence of LG’s conformation on cell proliferation, we chemically modified LG by either carboxymethylation (CM) or acetylation and observed significantly reduced cell proliferation when the protein structure was altered. Furthermore, we proved that LG enhances cell proliferation via receptor-mediated membrane IgM receptor. These data indicated that nondenatured LG is the major component in milk that modulates cell proliferation. Collectively, our study showed that LG plays a key role in enhancing immune responses by promoting cell proliferation through IgM receptor.