Goat milk allergenicity as a function of αS1-casein genetic polymorphism

C. Ballabio, S. Chessa, D. Rignanese, C. Gigliotti, G. Pagnacco, L. Terracciano, A. Fiocchi, P. Restani, A. M. Caroli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cow milk allergy is the most frequent allergy in the first years of life. Milk from other mammalian species has been suggested as a possible nutritional alternative to cow milk, but in several cases, the clinical studies showed a high risk of cross-reactivity with cow milk. In the goat species, αS1-casein (αS1-CN), coded by the CSN1S1 gene, is characterized by extensive qualitative and quantitative polymorphisms. Some alleles are associated with null (i.e., CSN1S1*01) or reduced (i.e., CSN1S1*F) expression of the specific protein. The aim of this work was to obtain new information on goat milk and to evaluate its suitability for allergic subjects, depending on the genetic variation at αs1-CN. Individual milk samples from 25 goats with different CSN1S1 genotypes were analyzed by sodium dodecyl sulfate PAGE and immunoblotting, using monoclonal antibodies specific for bovine α-CN and sera from children allergic to cow milk. A lower reaction was observed to 2 goat milk samples characterized by the CSN1S1* 0101 and 01F genotypes. Moreover, a fresh food skin prick test, carried out on 6 allergic children, showed the lack of positive reaction to the 0101 milk sample and only one weak reactivity to the 01F sample. The risk of cross-reactivity between cow and goat milk proteins suggests the need for caution before using goat milk for infant formulas. However, we hypothesize that it can be used successfully in the preparation of modified formulas for selected groups of allergic patients. The importance of taking the individual goat CN genetic variation into account in further experimental studies is evident from the results of the present work.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)998-1004
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011


  • α-casein
  • Allergenicity
  • Goat
  • Milk protein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Food Science
  • Genetics


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