Are sheep and goat milks harmful for people with MS?

Cow, goat and sheep milk all appears to contain the same offending protein, butyrophilin, which causes harm to the immune system. This comes from the following piece of research:

Lipid globule membranes were isolated from human and bovine milk and from the milk of sheep, goat, pig, rat and guinea pig, and their polypeptide compositions were analyzed. The major polypeptides with molecular weights similar to that of bovine butyrophilin were separated by gel electrophoresis, isolated and characterized with respect to isoelectric point, molecular weight, immunological cross-reactivity and peptide composition after proteolytic cleavage.

We show that in all species examined, these proteins are similar to bovine butyrophilin in (i) their relative insolubility in buffers of low and high ionic strength and in non-denaturing detergents, (ii) the occurrence of several isoelectric variants, and (iii) patterns of peptides obtained by protease digestion.

It is concluded that closely related proteins are major constituents of the cytoplasmic coat structures associated with milk lipid globule membranes of many species, and we propose the name butyrophilins for this group of proteins. Bovine and human butyrophilins are glycosylated with relatively large amounts of glucosamine, mannose, glucose and galactose but little fucose, sialic acids or galactosamine.

Most if not all of the sugar residues are associated with an acetone-soluble peptide fragment of Mr 12,000-16,000 focusing at about pH 4.0. We suggest that this fragment contains a membrane-spanning peptide sequence and is involved in the attachment of the cytoplasmic coat to the membrane of the milk lipid globule.


Reference:
Heid HW, Winter S, Bruder G, Keenan TW, Jarasch ED. Butyrophilin, an apical plasma membrane-associated glycoprotein characteristic of lactating mammary glands of diverse species. Biochim Biophys Acta 1983;728:228-38