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Clinical & Experimental Allergy

Bovine milk fat enriched in conjugated linoleic and vaccenic acids attenuates allergic dermatitis in mice


Geoffrey W. Krissansen, Department of Molecular Medicine & Pathology, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand. E-mail:


Background Orally administered milk fat enriched in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and trans-vaccenic acid (VA) (‘enriched milk fat’), produced by supplementing the diet of pasture-fed cows with fish and sunflower oil, has been shown previously to suppress the development of allergic airway disease in mice.

Objective To investigate whether topical or oral application of enriched milk fat and its two major fatty acids cis-9, trans-11 CLA (c9,t11-CLA) and VA inhibit allergic dermatitis in mice.

Methods Allergic dermatitis was induced in C57BL/6 mice by epicutaneous sensitization of tape-stripped skin with ovalbumin (OVA). Enriched milk fat and its two major fatty acids were either topically applied to the OVA-sensitized skin, or orally fed to mice by supplementation of the diet. Blood and skin tissues were collected for analysis after the third skin sensitization.

Results Both topical and oral administration of enriched milk fat and its two major fatty acids led to significant suppression of allergic dermatitis as evidenced by reduced clinical and histological scores of affected skins, infiltration of inflammatory cells, and circulating allergen-specific IgE levels, compared with treatment with normal milk fat or the base control diet. C9,t11-CLA and VA individually inhibited multiple facets of allergic dermatitis when topically applied, and their combination produced a strong additive effect.

Conclusion and Clinical Relevance Enriched milk fat, and its two major fatty acids c9,t11-CLA and vaccenic acid attenuate allergic dermatitis in mice.

Cite this as: X. Sun, J. Zhang, A. K. H. MacGibbon, P. Black and G. W. Krissansen, Clinical & Experimental Allergy, 2011 (41) 729–738.

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