Differential immunogenicity and allergenicity of native and recombinant human lactoferrins: Role of glycosylation

Rachael J. Almond, Brian F. Flanagan, Aristotelis Antonopoulos, Stuart M. Haslam, Anne Dell, Ian Kimber, Rebecca J. Dearman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Human native milk lactoferrin (LF) and recombinant forms of lactoferrin (rLF) are available with identical aa sequences, but different glycosylation patterns. Native lactoferrin (NLF) possesses the intrinsic ability to stimulate vigorous IgG and IgE antibody responses in BALB/c mice, whereas recombinant forms (Aspergillus or rice) are 40-fold less immunogenic and 200-fold less allergenic. Such differences are independent of endotoxin or iron content and the glycans do not contribute to epitope formation. A complex glycoprofile is observed for NLF, including sialic acid, fucose, mannose, and Lewis (Le)x structures, whereas both rLF species display a simpler glycoprofile rich in mannose. Although Lex type sugars play a Th2-type adjuvant role, endogenous expression of Lex on NLF did not completely account for the more vigorous IgE responses it provoked. Furthermore, coadminstration of rLF downregulated IgE and upregulated IgG2a antibody responses provoked by NLF, but was without effect on responses to unrelated peanut and chicken egg allergens. These results suggest glycans on rLF impact the induction phase to selectively inhibit IgE responses and that differential glycosylation patterns may impact on antigen uptake, processing and/or presentation, and the balance between Th1 and Th2 responses. © 2012 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)170-181
    Number of pages11
    JournalEuropean journal of immunology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013


    • Allergenicity
    • Glycosylation
    • Immunogenicity


    Dive into the research topics of 'Differential immunogenicity and allergenicity of native and recombinant human lactoferrins: Role of glycosylation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this