Lactoferrin is an iron-binding glycoprotein of the innate immune system, which is present in some mammalian fluids and secreted into the mucosae; it is also produced by the secondary granules of the polymorphonuclear neutrophils and secreted at infection sites. Lactoferricins (Lfcins) are peptides derived from the N-terminus of Lf. Lf avoids the iron availability to parasites in the body fluids due to its high avidity for iron, maintaining together with transferrin the free-iron concentration in about 10−18 M, which is too low to support the pathogenic invader survival. Intestinal parasitic diseases affect people worldwide, mainly in developing countries with poor hygienic conditions; for example, parasites such as Entamoeba histolytica, Giardia intestinalis, and Cryptosporidium parvum infect the human intestine when are orally ingested as cysts. Human and bovine Lf have been found parasiticidal in experiments in vitro and in animal models. Interestingly, Lf synergizes with metronidazole, the main drug used against E. histolytica and G. intestinalis. The aim of this chapter is to show the benefits of using Lf and Lfcins against intestinal parasitic diseases.
Part of the book: Natural Remedies in the Fight Against Parasites