Growth factors are composed of a heterogeneous group of proteins and pepÂ tides that initiate cellular growth and expression of differentiated function. Circulating growth factors may act in an analogous manner to classic endocrine hormones. In addition, most growth factors are synthesized in multiple cell types throughout the body and may act locally within a particular cell or upon adjacent cells via autocrine or paracrine mechanisms, respectively. In the 1970s and 1980s, researchers demonstrated that milk is a potent stimulator of growth both in vivo and in vitro. Widdowson et al (122) docuÂ mented the marked increase in gastrointestinal (01) weight,length,and protein 0199-9885/9410715-0147$05.00 DONOVAN & ODLE and DNA content of colostrum-fed neonatal piglets in the first 24 h of life. More recent piglet studies have demonstrated stimulation of GI DNA (114) and protein synthesis (19) by both mature milk and, to a greater degree, colostrum. Colostrum-fed piglets also had greater fractional protein synthesis rates in liver, kidney, spleen, and skeletal muscle than piglets fed milk, which indicates that colostral factors may mediate growth of tissues outside of the GI tract (19). In 1978, Klagsbrun provided the first in vitro evidence that human milk contains mitogenic factors (58). At
Annual Review of Nutrition – Annual Reviews
Published: Jul 1, 1994
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