Immunoenhancing effects of bovine glycomacropeptide and its derivatives on the proliferative response and phagocytic activities of human macrophagelike cells, U937

J Agric Food Chem. 2004 May 5;52(9):2704-8. doi: 10.1021/jf0355102.


The immunomodulatory effect of GMP and its derivates on the cell proliferative response of human macrophagelike cell, U937, and its effect on phagocytic activities via incorporation of fluorescence beads were studied. GMP was found to be a potent immunoenhancer at low concentrations, significantly enhancing the proliferation and phagocytic activities of U937. The modulatory function could be radically altered by enzymatic treatments. Pepsin digestion significantly enhanced the degree of cell proliferation and phagocytic activities, whereas trypsin had no significant effect. The immunoenhancing effects decreased significantly after sialidase treatment; however, more than 70% of activity was retained after treatment. GMP with different carbohydrate chains was shown to possess different modulatory capabilities. Sialic acid-rich GMP fractions showed an enhanced response. These findings indicate that both the carbohydrate chains compositions, including the terminal sialic acids and the polypeptide portions of GMP, are essential for the stimulatory effects of GMP on cell proliferation and phagocytic activities of U937.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carbohydrates / analysis
  • Caseins / chemistry*
  • Cattle
  • Cell Division / drug effects*
  • Cell Line
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Humans
  • Macrophages / drug effects*
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Milk / chemistry
  • Neuraminidase / metabolism
  • Pepsin A / metabolism
  • Peptide Fragments / chemistry
  • Peptide Fragments / metabolism
  • Peptide Fragments / pharmacology*
  • Phagocytosis / drug effects*
  • Sialic Acids / analysis
  • Sialic Acids / metabolism
  • Sialic Acids / pharmacology
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Trypsin / metabolism


  • Carbohydrates
  • Caseins
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Sialic Acids
  • Neuraminidase
  • Trypsin
  • Pepsin A