Background: Cross-sectional epidemiological studies have demonstrated that farm milk from traditional farm settings possesses allergoprotective properties. Up to now, it has not been clarified which milk ingredient is responsible for protection against allergic diseases. As farm milk is rich in conjugated linoleic acids (CLA), it is hypothesized that this n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid family contributes to the allergoprotective capacity of farm milk. We aim to prove this hypothesis in a murine model of allergic airway inflammation. Methods: To prove the bioavailability and allergoprotective capacity of milk-associated CLA in a standardized protocol, milk batches that differed significantly in terms of their CLA content were spray dried and incorporated into a basic diet by substituting the regular sunflower fat fraction. Initially, the milk CLA uptake from the diet was monitored via measurement of the CLA content in plasma and erythrocyte membranes obtained from supplemented mice. To determine whether a milk CLA-enriched diet possesses allergoprotective properties, female Balb/c mice were fed the milk CLA-enriched diet ahead of sensitization and a challenge with ovalbumin (OVA) and the parameters of airway inflammation and eisosanoid pattern were measured. Results: In animals, supplementation with a diet rich in milk CLA resulted in elevated CLA levels in plasma and erythrocyte membranes, indicating bioavailability of milk fatty acids. Though membrane-associated phospholipid patterns were affected by supplementation with milk CLA, this application neither reduced the hallmarks of allergic airway inflammation in sensitized and OVA-challenged mice nor modified the eiconsanoid pattern in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of these animals. Conclusion: Milk-associated CLA was not capable of preventing murine allergic airway inflammation in an animal model of OVA-induced allergic airway inflammation.

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