Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


A fatty acid found in milk may help control inflammatory diseases


One of the isomers of conjugated linoleic acid, a group of fatty acids found in milk, is a natural regulator of the COX-2 protein, which plays a significant role in inflammatory disease such as arthritis and cancer, according to a study published by University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers.

"It’s clear from previous research that conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, prevents inflammatory damage resulting from immune response," says Mark Cook, a professor of animal science in UW-Madison’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. "We’ve identified the biochemical mechanism by which this occurs."

CLA, which is synthesized by microbial fermentation in the rumen of dairy cows, exists naturally in a number of structural forms. Cook’s team determined that one of the variants inhibits the COX-2 protein by blocking a key cellular pathway. The COX-2 protein is known to play a significant role in many inflammatory diseases and is an important drug target for treating arthritis and cancer, Cook says.

While the amount of the anti-inflammatory isomer of CLA in milk is small relative to other fatty acids in milk, there may still be enough to elicit an effect if someone consumes dairy products every day, says Cook. He is planning a study, in collaboration with researchers in the dairy science and food science departments, to determine whether the amount of anti-inflammatory CLA in milk can be increased by changing dairy cow diets.

A poultry scientist, Cook’s interest in CLA arose when he began to investigate what seemed at first to be a simple question: Why does a chick or any other animal raised in a germ-free environment grow faster than one raised in a conventional environment?

"In animal agriculture, you can see as much as a five to ten percent difference in weight at a given age in a growing animal because a secondary effect of immune response is that it suppresses growth," Cook says. The immune system protects the body by fighting disease, but the defense comes at a price, Cook says, including inflammation, muscle wasting and loss of appetite.

"Conventional wisdom dictates that you can increase growth by treating the animal with antibiotics to kill bacteria and avoid activating the immune defense system, but this raises long-term concerns about developing antibiotic resistance," he adds. "You can also suppress the animal’s immune system, but that makes it much more susceptible to disease."

However, Cook is interested in another approach: Using CLA as a natural way to prevent "collateral damage" from the immune system’s response to invading pathogens. "The ideal solution is to let the immune system fight bacteria, but at the same time to maintain the overall health of the system," he says.

Cook is one of many UW-Madison researchers who are interested in the health benefits of CLA. Others include Michael Pariza, director of the Food Research Institute and chair of the food microbiology and toxicology department; James Ntambi of the biochemistry department; and Dale Schoeller of the nutritional sciences department.

His collaborators on the recent study include Guangming Li, a postdoctoral fellow in animal sciences; David Barnes, a former assistant professor of animal sciences; Daniel Butz, a former research associate in nutritional sciences; and Dale Bjorling, a professor of surgical sciences.

Mark Cook | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Molecular doorstop could be key to new tuberculosis drugs
20.03.2018 | Rockefeller University

nachricht Modified biomaterials self-assemble on temperature cues
20.03.2018 | Duke University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Physicists made crystal lattice from polaritons

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Thawing permafrost produces more methane than expected

20.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>