Chicken eggshell matrix proteins enhance calcium transport in the human intestinal epithelial cells, Caco-2

J Agric Food Chem. 2003 Sep 24;51(20):6056-61. doi: 10.1021/jf034261e.


Chicken eggshell powder has been proposed as an attractive source of calcium for human health to increase bone mineral density in an elderly population with osteoporosis. However, factors affecting calcium transport of eggshell calcium have not yet been evaluated. Chicken eggshell contains about 1.0% (w/w) matrix proteins in addition to a major form of calcium carbonate (95%, w/w). In this study, we found that soluble eggshell matrix proteins remarkably enhance calcium transport using in vitro Caco-2 cell monolayers grown on a permeable support. The total calcium transport across Caco-2 monolayers showed an increase of 64% in the presence of 100 microg/well soluble eggshell matrix proteins. The active enhancer with a molecular mass of 21 kDa was isolated by reversed phase high-performance liquid chromatography and did not correspond to any previously identified protein. The N-terminal sequence was determined to be Met-Ala-Val-Pro-Gln-Thr-Met-Val-Gln. The possible mechanisms of eggshell matrix protein-mediated increase in calcium transport and the potential significance of eggshell calcium as a nutraceutical are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Biological Transport / drug effects
  • Caco-2 Cells
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Cell Membrane Permeability
  • Chickens
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Egg Proteins / chemistry
  • Egg Proteins / pharmacology*
  • Epithelial Cells / drug effects
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism*
  • Peptide Fragments / chemistry
  • Peptide Fragments / pharmacology


  • Egg Proteins
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Calcium