Degradation of β-casomorphin-7 through in vitro gastrointestinal and jejunal brush border membrane digestion

J Dairy Sci. 2019 Oct;102(10):8622-8629. doi: 10.3168/jds.2019-16771. Epub 2019 Jul 24.


This work aimed to study the opioid peptide β-casomorphin-7 (BCM7) degradation or stability during digestion using human gastrointestinal (GI) juices and porcine jejunal brush border membrane (BBM) peptidases. Synthetic BCM7 was subjected to in vitro digestion by GI fluids obtained from human volunteers for 180 min, and to downstream degradation with porcine BBM vesicles. The BCM7 was sampled at 4 time points over 24 h after BBM addition. The digests were profiled by HPLC-electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI/MS) to monitor BCM7 during GI digestion, and intact BCM7 through BBM digestion was quantified by reverse-phase (RP)-HPLC. We found that BCM7 was partly digested with human GI enzymes, as 3 proteolytic fragments in addition to f(60-66) YPFPGPI were detected: f(62-66) FPGPI, f(60-65) YPFPGP and f(61-66) PFPGPI. The RP-HPLC analysis revealed that 42% of the initial peptide was degraded after only 2 h of BBM digestion, and as much as 79% was degraded after 4-h digestion with supplementation of BBM. In conclusion, this study showed that most of BCM7 was degraded during GI and BBM digestion, although a small amount (5%) was still detected after 24-h digestion. It remains to be studied whether the small amount of intact BCM7 detected after in vitro digestion is transported via active transceptors in the human intestinal epithelial cells and enters blood circulation.

Keywords: bioaccessibility; brush border membrane; in vitro digestion; β-casomorphin-7.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Digestion
  • Endorphins / metabolism*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Jejunum / metabolism*
  • Microvilli / enzymology
  • Microvilli / metabolism*
  • Peptide Fragments / metabolism*
  • Peptide Hydrolases / metabolism
  • Swine


  • Endorphins
  • Peptide Fragments
  • beta-casomorphin 7
  • Peptide Hydrolases