CLIN INVEST MED, 14: 296-309, 1991

The Biological Activity Of Undenatured Dietary Whey Proteins: Role Of Glutathione.

G. Bounous, P. Gold

Department of Surgery, Montreal General Hospital, Research Institute, Quebec

ABSTRACT - This study compared the effects of different sources of whey protein concentrate (20 g/100 g diet) and of casein on the spleen, liver, and heart glutathione content of C3H/HeJ mice, and on the immune response of their spleen cells to sheep red blood cells. Body weight curves were similar in all dietary groups. Our data indicate that the humoral immune response is highest in mice fed a dietary whey protein concentrate exhibiting the highest solubility (undenatured conformation) and a greater relative concentration of the thermolabile cystine rich proteins. In addition, the mice fed this type of whey protein concentrate exhibit higher levels of tissue glutathione. The presence in the serum albumin fraction of glutamylcysteine groups (rare in food protein) and the specific intramolecular bond as related to the undenatured conformation of the molecule are considered to be key factors in the glutathione-promoting activity of the protein mixture.