Induction of Trained Innate Immunity in Human Monocytes by Bovine Milk and Milk-Derived Immunoglobulin G

Nutrients. 2018 Sep 27;10(10):1378. doi: 10.3390/nu10101378.


Innate immune memory, also termed "trained immunity" in vertebrates, has been recently described in a large variety of plants and animals. In most cases, trained innate immunity is induced by pathogens or pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs), and is associated with long-term epigenetic, metabolic, and functional reprogramming. Interestingly, recent findings indicate that food components can mimic PAMPs effects and induce trained immunity. The aim of this study was to investigate whether bovine milk or its components can induce trained immunity in human monocytes. To this aim, monocytes were exposed for 24 h to β-glucan, Toll-like receptor (TLR)-ligands, bovine milk, milk fractions, bovine lactoferrin (bLF), and bovine Immunoglobulin G (bIgG). After washing away the stimulus and a resting period of five days, the cells were re-stimulated with TLR ligands and Tumor necrosis factor (TNF-) and interleukin (IL)-6 production was measured. Training with β-glucan resulted in higher cytokine production after TLR1/2, TLR4, and TLR7/8 stimulation. When monocytes trained with raw milk were re-stimulated with TLR1/2 ligand Pam3CSK4, trained cells produced more IL-6 compared to non-trained cells. Training with bIgG resulted in higher cytokine production after TLR4 and TLR7/8 stimulation. These results show that bovine milk and bIgG can induce trained immunity in human monocytes. This confirms the hypothesis that diet components can influence the long-term responsiveness of the innate immune system.

Keywords: bovine IgG; bovine lactoferrin; dietary compounds; innate immune memory; monocytes; raw bovine milk; trained immunity.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate*
  • Immunoglobulin G / administration & dosage*
  • Interleukin-6 / biosynthesis
  • Lactoferrin / administration & dosage
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / immunology
  • Ligands
  • Lipopeptides / administration & dosage
  • Milk / immunology*
  • Monocytes / immunology*
  • Toll-Like Receptors / administration & dosage
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / biosynthesis
  • beta-Glucans / administration & dosage


  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Interleukin-6
  • Ligands
  • Lipopeptides
  • Pam(3)CSK(4) peptide
  • Toll-Like Receptors
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • beta-Glucans
  • Lactoferrin

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