Assessment of the immunomodulatory effects of raw/farm milk and probiotic bacteria

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McCarthy, Robert
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University College Cork
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The overall aims of this study were to investigate the differences between raw/farm milk and pasteurised milk with respect to potential immune modifying effects following consumption and investigate the bacterial composition of raw milk compared to pasteurised milk. Furthermore, in this thesis, panels of potential probiotic bacteria from the Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus genera were investigated. The overall bacterial composition of raw milk was compared with pasteurised milk using samples obtained from commercial milk producers around Ireland using next generation sequencing technology (454 pyrosequencing). Here the presence of previously unrecognised and diverse bacterial populations in unpasteurised cow’s milk was identified. Futhermore the bacterial content of pasteurised milk was found to be more diverse than previously thought. The global response of the adenocarcinoma cell line HT-29 to raw milk and pasteurised milk exposures were also characterised using whole genome microarray technology. Over one thousand differentially expressed genes were identified which were found to be involved in a plethora of cellular functions. Interestingly a reduction in immune related activity (e.g. Major histocompatability complex class II signalling and T and B cell proliferation) was identified in cells exposed to pasteurised milk compared with raw milk exposures. Further studies comparing human cell response to raw versus pasteurised milk was performed using peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from healthy donors. A reduction in CD14 was identified following raw milk exposures compared with pasteurised milk and the pattern of cytokine production may indicate that gram positive bacteria in the raw milk were contributing to the differences in the cellular response to raw versus pasteurised milk. Panels of potentially probiotic bacteria (comprising of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria) were further assessed for immunomodulatory capabilities using cell culture based models. Gene expression and cytokine production were used to evaluate stimulated and unstimulated (LPS) cellular responses as well as interaction mechanisms
Raw milk , Raw milk microbiology , Immune bacteria
McCarthy, R. 2014. Assessment of the immunomodulatory effects of raw/farm milk and probiotic bacteria. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
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