AbstractBackgroundEnteroaggregative Escherichia coli (EAEC) causes diarrhea, malnutrition and poor growth in children. Human breast milk decreases disease-causing bacteria by supplying nutrients and antimicrobial factors such as lysozyme. Goat milk with and without human lysozyme (HLZ) may improve the repair of intestinal barrier function damage induced by EAEC. This work investigates the effect of the milks on intestinal barrier function repair, bacterial adherence in Caco-2 and HEp-2 cells, intestinal cell proliferation, migration, viability and apoptosis in IEC-6 cells in the absence or presence of EAEC.MethodsRat intestinal epithelial cells (IEC-6, ATCC, Rockville, MD) were used for proliferation, migration and viability assays and human colon adenocarcinoma (Caco-2, ATCC, Rockville, MD) and human larynx carcinoma (HEp-2, ATCC, Rockville, MD) cells were used for bacterial adhesion assays. Goats expressing HLZ in their milk were generated and express HLZ in milk at concentration of 270 μg/ml . Cells were incubated with pasteurized milk from either transgenic goats expressing HLZ or non-transgenic control goats in the presence and absence of EAEC strain 042 (O44:H18).ResultsCellular proliferation was significantly greater in the presence of both HLZ transgenic and control goat milk compared to cells with no milk. Cellular migration was significantly decreased in the presence of EAEC alone but was restored in the presence of milk. Milk from HLZ transgenic goats had significantly more migration compared to control milk. Both milks significantly reduced EAEC adhesion to Caco-2 cells and transgenic milk resulted in less colonization than control milk using a HEp-2 assay. Both milks had significantly increased cellular viability as well as less apoptosis in both the absence and presence of EAEC.ConclusionsThese data demonstrated that goat milk is able to repair intestinal barrier function damage induced by EAEC and that goat milk with a higher concentration of lysozyme offers additional protection.