Anti-inflammatory effects of orally ingested lactoferrin and glycine in different zymosan-induced inflammation models: evidence for synergistic activity

Int Immunopharmacol. 2007 Dec 15;7(13):1784-92. doi: 10.1016/j.intimp.2007.09.019. Epub 2007 Oct 8.


There is a growing awareness of the interaction of food constituents with the immune system. The present study aims to evaluate the anti-inflammatory effects of two of these nutritional components (glycine and bovine-lactoferrin (b-LF)) using two different mouse models. In a zymosan-induced ear-skin inflammation model both components decreased the inflammatory response locally (ear swelling and inflammatory cytokine concentration in the ears) and systemically (number of TNF-alpha producing spleen cells). Glycine effects (20, 50 or 100 mg/mouse/day) were concentration dependent. B-LF (0.1 or 1 mg/mouse/day) inhibited the inflammatory response although higher doses (5 and 25 mg/mouse/day) were not effective. A combination of b-LF 0.1 mg/mouse/day and glycine 20 or 50 mg/mouse/day counteracted the zymosan-induced ear swelling synergistically and enhanced the decrease in the number of TNF-alpha producing spleen cells of the individual components. In a zymosan-induced acute arthritis model glycine (50 mg/mouse/day) inhibited joint swelling, inflammatory cell infiltration and cartilage proteoglycan depletion. A b-LF dose of 5 mg/mouse/day reduced the zymosan-induced joint swelling without modulating inflammatory cell infiltration and cartilage proteoglycan depletion. The present study indicates that the anti-inflammatory effects of glycine are independent of the used models. B-LF displays a reversed concentration dependency and the activity is model dependent. A combination of glycine and lactoferrin demonstrated a synergistic anti-inflammatory effect on zymosan-induced skin inflammation and an enhanced decrease in the number of TNF-alpha producing spleen cells compared to the effect of the single components. Therefore, this nutritional concept might be a new option for the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Drug Synergism
  • Glycine / administration & dosage
  • Glycine / pharmacology*
  • Inflammation / chemically induced
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Lactoferrin / administration & dosage
  • Lactoferrin / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Proteoglycans / metabolism
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / biosynthesis
  • Zymosan


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Proteoglycans
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Zymosan
  • Lactoferrin
  • Glycine