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Nutrients 2017, 9(6), 532; doi:10.3390/nu9060532

Immune Components in Human Milk Are Associated with Early Infant Immunological Health Outcomes: A Prospective Three-Country Analysis

Department of Paediatrics, Imperial College London, London W2 1NY, UK
Faculty of Pediatrics, Federal State Autonomous Educational Institution of Higher Education I.M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation., Moscow 119991, Russia
International Inflammation (in-FLAME) network of the World Universities Network, Perth 6000, WA, Australia
Allergy Department, Veltischev Clinical Pediatric Research Institute of Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University, Moscow 125412, Russia
Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Section of Paediatrics, University of Pisa, Pisa 56126, Italy
National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, London SW3 6NP, UK
Royal Holloway University of London School of Biological Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, London TW20 0EX, UK
Department of Life and Reproduction Sciences, Section of Paediatrics, University of Verona, Verona 37124, Italy
School of Molecular Sciences, The University of Western Australia, Perth, WA 6009, Australia
National Institute of Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care for NW London, London SW10 9NH, UK
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 27 March 2017 / Revised: 18 May 2017 / Accepted: 19 May 2017 / Published: 24 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition and Allergic Diseases)
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The role of breastfeeding in improving allergy outcomes in early childhood is still unclear. Evidence suggests that immune mediators in human milk (HM) play a critical role in infant immune maturation as well as protection against atopy/allergy development. We investigated relationships between levels of immune mediators in colostrum and mature milk and infant outcomes in the first year of life. In a large prospective study of 398 pregnant/lactating women in the United Kingdom, Russia and Italy, colostrum and mature human milk (HM) samples were analysed for immune active molecules. Statistical analyses used models adjusting for the site of collection, colostrum collection time, parity and maternal atopic status. Preliminary univariate analysis showed detectable interleukin (IL) 2 and IL13 in HM to be associated with less eczema. This finding was further confirmed in multivariate analysis, with detectable HM IL13 showing protective effect OR 0.18 (95% CI 0.04–0.92). In contrast, a higher risk of eczema was associated with higher HM concentrations of transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) 2 OR 1.04 (95% CI 1.01–1.06) per ng/mL. Parental-reported food allergy was reported less often when IL13 was detectable in colostrum OR 0.10 (95% CI 0.01–0.83). HM hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) was protective for common cold incidence at 12 months OR 0.19 (95% CI 0.04–0.92) per ng/mL. Data from this study suggests that differences in the individual immune composition of HM may have an influence on early life infant health outcomes. Increased TGFβ2 levels in HM are associated with a higher incidence of reported eczema, with detectable IL13 in colostrum showing protective effects for food allergy and sensitization. HGF shows some protective effect on common cold incidence at one year of age. Future studies should be focused on maternal genotype, human milk microbiome and diet influence on human milk immune composition and both short- and long-term health outcomes in the infant. View Full-Text
Keywords: colostrum; human milk; immune modulators; immunologically active molecules; cytokines; growth factors; health outcomes; immunological outcomes colostrum; human milk; immune modulators; immunologically active molecules; cytokines; growth factors; health outcomes; immunological outcomes

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Munblit, D.; Treneva, M.; Peroni, D.G.; Colicino, S.; Chow, L.Y.; Dissanayeke, S.; Pampura, A.; Boner, A.L.; Geddes, D.T.; Boyle, R.J.; Warner, J.O. Immune Components in Human Milk Are Associated with Early Infant Immunological Health Outcomes: A Prospective Three-Country Analysis. Nutrients 2017, 9, 532.

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