Human milk: Defense against infection

L A Hanson, T Söderström
Progress in Clinical and Biological Research 1981, 61: 147-59
The neonate is deficient in the main antibody that protects mucosal membranes, the secretory IgA. While developing this immune system the breast-fed baby is provided with 0.25-0.5 grams per day of secretory IgA antibodies via the milk. These antibodies which function in concert with other defense factors in milk such as lactoferrin are directed against a number of micro-organisms that threaten the neonate. Recent studies suggest that it may be possible by vaccination of the mother to increase the immunity provided the breast-fed infant via the milk secretory IgA antibodies. Breast-feeding results in a lower frequency of infections in the infant, not only developing countries, but also in societies like Canada and USA. In developing countries the most dangerous period of a child's life begins with weaning when the protection of the breast milk vanishes and often heavily contaminated food is introduced. The large number of infections, especially diarrhea, that follow may be a major factor impairing growth and development with accompanying undernutrition. Utilization of available nutrients is much improved if these infections can be prevented.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Trending Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"