Lactoferrin (Lf) is a glycoprotein that is produced by neutrophils, mononuclear phagocytes and epithelial cells and is contained in the secretory fluids such as saliva and breast milk. Its function is to block bacterial growth by limiting the availability of iron and this effect is enhanced by the presence of specific secretory IgA antibodies directed against bacteria. Lf also has a bacteriocidal effect by causing direct damage to cell membranes in cooperation with lisozyme. When inflammation develops in the gastrointestinal tract, neutrophils and phagocytic cells migrate to the inflammatory focus and release the granules containing Lf. Lf is stable in faeces and is easily detected for immunochemical methods.





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