This study was carried out to investigate the influence of orally administered lactoferrin on the gut immune system of dog puppies.
36 motherless raised Beagles were given lactoferrin at a dosage of 0, 30, 60 and 120 mg/kg DM in the milk replacer and in the subsequent dry diet. Endoscopic biopsies from doudenum and colon were investigated histologically and immunohistochemically for IgA+, IgG+, IgM+ plasma cells, CD3+, CD4+ and CD8+ lymphocytes and bound lactoferrin. Stained cells were quantified per 10 000 µm2 in the lamina propria of the duodenum between crypts, at villus bases and villus tips and in the lamina propria of the colon and per 100 epithelial cells in the epithelial layers of the duodenum and colon. Histological scoring showed no pathological findings. IgG+ plasma cells were tendencially (p<0.1) fewer in the lamina propria at villus bases of the duodenum of the 120 mg group and significantly (p<0.05) fewer in the lamina propria of the colon of both the 30 and the 60 mg group. Number of CD3+ cells increased in gut wall of all treated groups in all investigated areas, but this could not be proved statistically. The number of CD8+ lymphocytes was significantly (p<0.5) higher in the epithelium of colon of all three treated groups. A binding of lactoferrin to the gut mucosa could not be shown.This study indicates no sustainable effects of supplemented lactoferrin on the population of selected immuncells in the gut mucosa of dog puppies.
lactoferrin / gut immune system / gut morphology / immunocytochemistry