Lactoferrin, an iron-binding protein previously shown to occur in many external secretions, is identified as one of the major proteins present in human and guinea pig neutrophilic polymorphonuclear leukocytes.
The identification of this protein in leukocyte extracts was based upon a comparison of its electrophoretic, antigenic, and iron-combining properties with the corresponding properties of the same protein isolated from human and guinea pig milk. Immunochemical quantitations showed that lactoferrin occurs in human neutrophilic leukocytes at the concentration of 3 µg per 106 cells. Tissue cultures from guinea pig bone marrow and spleen actively synthesized the protein, as shown both by net production of lactoferrin and incorporation of labeled amino acids into the protein. Immunohistochemical data indicate that lactoferrin first appears in myeloid cells at the stage of the promyelocyte.