IgY antibodies in human nutrition for disease prevention
Oral administration of preformed specific antibodies is an attractive approach against infections of the digestive system in humans and animals in times of increasing antibiotic resistances. Previous studies showed a positive effect of egg yolk IgY antibodies on bacterial intoxications in animals and humans. Immunization of chickens with specific antigens offers the possibility to create various forms of antibodies. Research shows that orally applied IgY's isolated from egg yolks can passively cure or prevent diseases of the digestive system. The use of these alternative therapeutic drugs provides further advantages: (1) The production of IgY's is a non-invasive alternative to current methods; (2) The keeping of chickens is inexpensive; (3) The animals are easy to handle; (4) It avoids repetitive bleeding of laboratory animals; (5) It is also very cost effective regarding the high IgY concentration within the egg yolk. Novel targets of these antigen specific antibodies are Helicobacter pylori and also molecules involved in signaling pathways in gastric cancer. Furthermore, also dental caries causing bacteria like Streptococcus mutans or opportunistic Pseudomonas aeruginosa in cystic fibrosis patients are possible targets. Therefore, IgY's included in food for human consumption may be able to prevent or cure human diseases.