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Lactoferrin, the protein that regulates the immune system

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A recent study has shown that lactoferrin plays a central role in regulating the immune system. Let’s find out how.

Lactoferrin is a glycoprotein that allows it to bind iron and has many other functions, including antiviral and antibacterial. This molecule is a natural immune compound, capable of enhancing the immune response against various bacteria, fungi and viruses. The immune capabilities of lactoferrin are not due to its ability to retain iron.

In fact, this molecule interacts with microbial growth, aggregation and the formation of pathogenic bacteria. This allows to inhibit the ability of pathogenic organisms to enter host cells , thus preserving the health of the organism. But let’s understand how lactoferrin works in detail and how it can protect us from serious diseases, such as the Coronavirus.

Lactoferrin: the main characteristics

Among the main characteristics of lactoferrin, in addition to its ability to bind iron, we can find the regulatory function of viral and bacterial processes.

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The molecule in fact plays a central role in the early stages of an infection , hindering the entry of coated or naked viruses. This is possible because lactoferrin is able to bind to cellular glycosaminoglycan receptors and viral cells.

Furthermore, this molecule is present in many epithelial cells of the human body and this suggests how important the role it plays is, even at the intracellular level. For these reasons, experts agree that lactoferrin is a fundamental part of the protective mucosa of cells and organism . In short, this compound could be the basis for creating new strategies against even serious viral infections, for example to treat Coronavirus.

The antiviral protection of lactoferrin

As we have seen, lactoferrin has a particularly important role in protecting our body. In fact it has been noted how this molecule is able to counteract the activity of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria and of:

– DNA and RNA viruses
– respiratory syncytial virus
– herpes

Lactoferrin inhibits the entry of viral particles into host cells, either by direct attachment to viral particles or by blocking their cell receptors . In this way the organism is able to respond more immediately and effectively against external aggression.

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