Atallah, Nathalie, et al. “Differential effects of milk proteins on amino acid digestibility, post-prandial nitrogen utilization and intestinal peptide profiles in rats.” Food Research International (2023): 112814. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodres.2023.112814
The aim of this study was to analyze the protein digestibility and postprandial metabolism in rats of milk protein matrices obtained by different industrial processes.
Material and methods
The study was conducted on Wistar rats that consumed a meal containing different 15N-labeled milk proteins. Four milk matrices were tested: native micellar caseins (C1), caseins low in calcium (C2 low Ca2+), a matrix containing a ratio 63:37 of caseins and whey proteins (CW2) and whey proteins alone (W). Blood and urine were collected during the postprandial period and rats were euthanized 6 h after meal intake to collect digestive contents and organs.
Orocaecal digestibility values of amino acids ranged between 96.0 ± 0.2% and 96.6 ± 0.4% for C1-, C2 low Ca2+– and W-matrices, while this value was significantly lower for CW2 matrix (92.4 ± 0.5%). More dietary nitrogen was sequestered in the splanchnic area (intestinal mucosa and liver) as well as in plasma proteins after ingestion of W matrix, especially compared to the C1- and C2 low Ca2+-matrices. Peptidomic analysis showed that more milk protein-derived peptides were identified in the caecum of rats after the ingestion of the matrices containing caseins compared to W matrix.
We found that demineralization of micellar caseins did not modify its digestibility and postprandial metabolism. The low digestibility of the modified casein-to-whey ratio matrix may be ascribed to a lower accessibility of the protein to digestive enzymes due to changes in the protein structure, while the higher nitrogen splanchnic retention after ingestion of whey was probably due to the fast assimilation of its protein content. Finally, our results showed that industrial processes that modify the structure and/or composition of milk proteins influence protein digestion and utilization.