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Differences in Maternal Immunoglobulins within Mother’s Own Breast Milk and Donor Breast Milk and across Digestion in Preterm Infants

Nutrition Program, School of Biological and Population Health Sciences, College of Public Health and Human Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA
Department of Pediatrics, Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel, Portland, OR 97227, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2019, 11(4), 920;
Received: 13 March 2019 / Revised: 8 April 2019 / Accepted: 22 April 2019 / Published: 24 April 2019
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Maternal antibody transfer to the newborn provides essential support for the infant’s naïve immune system. Preterm infants normally receive maternal antibodies through mother’s own breast milk (MBM) or, when mothers are unable to provide all the milk required, donor breast milk (DBM). DBM is pasteurized and exposed to several freeze–thaw cycles, which could reduce intact antibody concentration and the antibody’s resistance to digestion within the infant. Whether concentrations of antibodies in MBM and DBM differ and whether their survival across digestion in preterm infants differs remains unknown. Feed (MBM or DBM), gastric contents (MBM or DBM at 1-h post-ingestion) and stool samples (collected after a mix of MBM and DBM feeding) were collected from 20 preterm (26–36 weeks gestational age) mother–infant pairs at 8–9 and 21–22 days of postnatal age. Samples were analyzed via ELISA for the concentration of secretory IgA (SIgA), total IgA (SIgA/IgA), total IgM (SIgM/IgM) and IgG. Total IgA, SIgA, total IgM and IgG concentrations were 55.0%, 71.6%, 98.4% and 41.1% higher in MBM than in DBM, and were 49.8%, 32.7%, 73.9% and 39.7% higher in gastric contents when infants were fed with MBM than when infants were fed DBM, respectively. All maternal antibody isotypes present in breast milk were detected in the infant stools, of which IgA (not sIgA) was the most abundant. View Full-Text
Keywords: passive immunization; antibodies; lactation; prematurity; proteolysis; breast milk passive immunization; antibodies; lactation; prematurity; proteolysis; breast milk

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Demers-Mathieu, V.; Huston, R.K.; Markell, A.M.; McCulley, E.A.; Martin, R.L.; Spooner, M.; Dallas, D.C. Differences in Maternal Immunoglobulins within Mother’s Own Breast Milk and Donor Breast Milk and across Digestion in Preterm Infants. Nutrients 2019, 11, 920.

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