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Regulski, Silke (2005): Lactoferrin-Supplementierung bei neonatalen Hundewelpen - Wirkung auf Immunsystem und Blutbild. Dissertation, LMU München: Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
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Abstract

In this study the effects of the prebiotic acting substance lactoferrin on blood parameters and the specific immune reaction were investigated in the model of orphan-reared neonatal beagle-puppies. Lactoferrin is an iron-binding glycoprotein that can be detected in milk and other external secretions of various mammals. In addition to many other functions it has shown stimulating effects on metabolism and immune system in previous trials. For this 14-week trial 32 beagle-puppies were split in four groups (n = 8) with different lactoferrin inclusion levels (0, 30, 60, 120 mg Lactoferrin/kg milk replacer or dog food). The dogs were fed self-made, balanced milk replacer until weaning during week 8, followed by a commercial dry dog food. Application of Lactoferrin to the puppies had no influence on the increase of body weight. Looking at blood parameters some tendencies of the lactoferrin-supplemented groups within the white blood cell parameters could be detected. Treatment groups showed a decrease of relative lymphocyte numbers compared to those of the control group, what could be due to an anti-proliferating activity of lactoferrin on lymphocytes. Proliferation of neutrophil granulocytes was stimulated by lactoferrin, shown by the slightly increased levels of neutrophils in the treatment groups. No statistical significance could be detected. The typical physiological pattern of the development of red blood cell parameters during the first weeks of newborn puppies could be seen, while oral lactoferrin admission did not change any of these results. The production of anti human serum albumine antibodies was chosen as a parameter for the investigation of the effect of lactoferrin on the immune status. Lactoferrin did not show any influence on the proliferation of specific antibodies, induced by the subcutaneous application of human serum albumine for two times during week 8 and 12. Therefore, no direct association between lactoferrin-supplementation and immune response could be observed. It could be shown, that the application of lactoferrin did not increase the immune response in healthy beagle-puppies, but it can be discussed wether it induces an antiproliferative effect on the production of lymphocytes.