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Open Access Open Badges Research

Promotion of immune and glycaemic functions in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats treated with un-denatured camel milk whey proteins

Hossam Ebaid

Author Affiliations

Department of Zoology, College of Science, King Saud University, Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, KSA

Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, El-Minia University, El-Minia, Egypt

Nutrition & Metabolism 2014, 11:31  doi:10.1186/1743-7075-11-31

Published: 1 July 2014


T cell mediated autoimmune diabetes is characterized by immune cell infiltration of pancreatic islets and destruction of insulin-producing β-cells. This study was designed to assess the effect of whey proteins (WP) on the responsiveness of lymphocytes in rats after four months of Streptozotocin (STZ)-induced Type 1 diabetes (T1D). A diabetic group was supplemented with WP daily for five weeks at a dose of 100 mg/kg. Ribonucleic acid (RNA) was extracted from stimulated lymphocytes in order to analyse gene expressions using real time PCR and RT-PCR. PCR results were confirmed with ELISA. The proliferation capacity of lymphocytes and their homing to the spleen were studied. Antigen-activated lymphocytes showed that diabetes impaired the mRNA expression of the protein kinase B (Akt1), Cdc42, and the co-stimulatory molecule, CD28, which are important for cell survival, actin polymerization and T cell activation, respectively. Accordingly, proliferation of lymphocytes was found to be suppressed in diabetic rats, both in vivo and in vitro. WP was found to restore Akt1, Cdc42 and CD28 mRNA expression during diabetes to normal levels. WP, therefore, served to activate the proliferation of B lymphocytes in diabetic rats both in vivo and in vitro. Although WP was found to up-regulate mRNA expression of both interleukin (IL)-2 and interferon gamma (IFN-γ), it suppressed the proliferation activity of almost all T cell subsets. This was confirmed by WP normalizing the structure and function of ß cells. Meanwhile, WP was found to down regulate the mRNA expression of Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) and its programmed cell death-receptor (Fas). Taken together, the results of this study provide evidence for the potential impact of WP in the treatment of immune impairment in T1D, suggesting that it serves to reverse autoimmunity by suppressing autoreactive T cells and down regulating TNF-α and Fas, resulting in improved pancreatic ß cell structure and function.

Lymphocyte proliferation; T and B cells; Pancreatic ß cells; Type 1 diabetes-rat model; Whey protein