Role of Maternal Allergy on Immune Markers in Colostrum and Secretory Immunoglobulin A in Stools of Breastfed Infants

Man-Chin Hua, Chien-Chang Chen, Tsung-Chieh Yao, Ming-Han Tsai, Sui-Ling Liao, Shen-Hao Lai, Chih-Yung Chiu, Kuo-Wei Yeh, Jing-Long Huang
Journal of Human Lactation 2016, 32 (1): 160-7

BACKGROUND: Although protection against infectious diseases has been observed among breastfed infants as compared to formula-fed infants, possible benefits of breastfeeding by allergic mothers for allergy prevention remain controversial.

OBJECTIVES: The aims of this study were to determine whether maternal allergy would influence immune markers (secretory immunoglobulin A [sIgA], interleukin-8 [IL-8], soluble CD14 [sCD14]) in colostrum and the associations between maternal allergy and fecal sIgA levels in breastfed infants.

METHODS: Study subjects were enrolled from the Prediction of Allergies in Taiwanese Children (PATCH) birth cohort study. Colostrum samples were obtained from 98 lactating mothers. Stool samples were collected from 108 infants within 5 days after birth and at 2 and 4 months of age. We compared concentrations of sIgA, IL-8, and sCD14 in colostrum between mothers with and without a history of allergic disease and allergic sensitization. We also compared fecal sIgA levels between breastfed and formula-fed infants and between infants with allergic and nonallergic mothers.

RESULTS: The sIgA concentrations were significantly higher in colostrum from allergic mothers than from nonallergic mothers (P = .01) and from allergic mothers who were immunoglobulin E (IgE) sensitized compared to nonallergic mothers who were not IgE sensitized (P = .023). Breastfed infants had significantly higher fecal sIgA levels as compared to formula-fed infants, regardless of whether their lactating mothers had an allergy (P < .05).

CONCLUSION: We found that breastfeeding is associated with increased infants' fecal sIgA levels and may have potential protective effects to the infants during the first 4 months of life, regardless of whether their lactating mothers have allergies.

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