Lactoferrin is a natural peptide derived from the hydrolysis of lactoferrin, a glycoprotein contained in whey.
It is mainly appreciated for its antimicrobial activity, being able to effectively contrast fungal and bacterial infections caused by both Gram+ and Gram-, resulting also active against antibiotic resistant microorganisms (Biasibetti et al., 2020).
It also exhibits prebiotic activity (Vega-Bautista et al. 2019) as well as immunomodulatory and antiviral activities (Bruni et al., 2016; Boas et al., 2019; Gifford et al., 2005; Mistry et al., 2007). These peculiar characteristics make lactoferricin a promising ally for our health.
In fact, it is also from breast milk that the baby receives the first defense system against pathogens. Lactoferrin and the bioactive peptides derived from its hydrolysis, including lactoferricin, act as a protective agents.
But what is its mechanism of action?
It is an amphipathic cationic peptide whose mechanism of action has not yet been fully elucidated. It is believed that its activity is related to the ability to interact with negatively charged membranes, compromising their integrity and causing ultrastructural changes or alterations in membrane permeability (van der Kraan et al., 2005; Hossain et al., 2019; Fitzgerald and Murray 2006).
Numerous scientific studies have also demonstrated that lactoferrin and the peptides resulting from its hydrolysis, including lactoferricin, are able to interfere with the very early stages of the life cycle of many viruses, effectively preventing the virus from entering the host cell and thus blocking the infection at birth (Giansanti et al., 2018; Sultana et al., 2018; Shetakov et al., 2012).
In particular it is believed that lactoferricin is able to establish an electrostatic interaction with heparan sulfate (HS), a glucosaminoglycan present on the cell surface involved in the internalization process of the virus in the cell.
Of great actuality is the recent study conducted by Qi Zhang and collaborators. It was observed that HS is involved in the entry of Sars-Cov-2 into the host cell, increasing the concentration of the virus on the cell surface and consequently favoring the interaction with the ACE-2 receptor. This opens the opportunity to investigate new therapeutic strategies targeting heparan sulfate (Qi Zhang et al., 2020).
OUR PRODUCTS & SERVICES
Bict s.r.l. has developed a line of patented natural products with antibacterial and antiviral properties . Our products contain lactoferricin and are active in both human (Bactofence) and veterinary fields (ViStop). At the basis of these products there is a careful choice of ingredients, aimed at ensuring the quality as well as the effectiveness in promoting the welfare of people and animals.
Our team of researchers has also developed experimental protocols to test in vitro the antiviral activity of compounds and molecules provided by the client against viruses. In particular, the service offered includes the evaluation of viral infection inhibition and viral propagation in the host cell treated with the compound of interest.