Cow's milk proteins in human milk

J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. 2012 Jul-Sep;26(3 Suppl):39-42.


Cow's milk proteins (CMPs) are among the best characterized food allergens. Cow's milk contains more than twenty five different proteins, but only whey proteins alpha-lactalbumin, beta-lactoglobulin, bovine serum albumin (BSA), and lactoferrin, as well as the four caseins, have been identified as allergens. Aim of this study was to investigate by proteomics techniques cow's milk allergens in human colostrum of term and preterm newborns' mothers, not previously detected, in order to understand if such allergens could be cause of sensitization during lactation. Term colostrum samples from 62 healthy mothers and preterm colostrum samples from 11 healthy mothers were collected for this purpose. The most relevant finding was the detection of the intact bovine alpha-S1-casein in both term and preterm colostrum. Using this method, which allows direct proteins identification, beta-lactoglobulin was not detected in any of colostrum samples. According to our results bovine alpha 1 casein that is considered a major cow's milk allergen is readily secreted in human milk: further investigations are needed in order to clarify if alpha-1-casein has a major role in sensitization or tolerance to cow's milk of exclusively breastfed predisposed infants.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Allergens / analysis*
  • Allergens / immunology
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Breast Feeding
  • Caseins / analysis
  • Caseins / immunology
  • Cattle
  • Colostrum / chemistry*
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Two-Dimensional
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lactalbumin / analysis
  • Lactalbumin / immunology
  • Lactation / physiology
  • Lactoglobulins / analysis
  • Lactoglobulins / immunology
  • Milk / chemistry
  • Milk Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Milk Proteins / analysis*
  • Milk Proteins / immunology
  • Milk, Human / chemistry*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Pregnancy
  • Serum Albumin, Bovine / analysis
  • Serum Albumin, Bovine / immunology
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry


  • Allergens
  • Caseins
  • Lactoglobulins
  • Milk Proteins
  • Serum Albumin, Bovine
  • Lactalbumin