Intestinal infection caused by Cryptosporidium is a major contributor to diarrhea morbidity and mortality in young children around the world. Current treatments for children suffering from cryptosporidiosis are suboptimal. Lactoferrin is a glycoprotein found in breast milk. It has showed bacteriostatic and antimicrobial activity in the intestine. However, the effects of lactoferrin on the intestinal parasite Cryptosporidium have not been reported. In this study, we investigated the anticryptosporidial activity of human lactoferrin on different stages of Cryptosporidium. Physiologic concentrations of lactoferrin killed Cryptosporidium parvum sporozoites, but had no significant effect on oocysts viability or parasite intracellular development. Since sporozoites are essential for the infection process, our data reinforce the importance of breastfeeding and point to the potential of lactoferrin as a novel therapeutic agent for cryptosporidiosis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases