Orally administered bioactive peptides are largely degraded during gastrointestinal digestion. This study examines the possibilities to use milk proteins to deliver bioactive peptides in an active form to target tissues through the intestinal mucosa and thus enhance biological activities of these important compounds. This would have a great impact on preventing the major health risks in the population, such as hypertension, obesity and the metabolic syndrome. Bioactive peptides examined in this project will be chosen based on their favourable biological effects and characteristics that allow them to bind to the carrier proteins.
The carrier proteins used in this study are milk proteins, primarily beta-lactoglobulin and natural and mutated caseins. The complexes formed will be characterized by molecular modelling, ultra-filtration and isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) and their resistance against gastrointestinal degradation will be assessed. Promising protein-peptide complexes will be chosen for further structural studies.
Finally, the passage of the carrier proteins complexed with the bioactive peptides through enterocytes and M-cell monolayers will be examined, and preservation of biological activity analysed.
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