Overview: Immunomodulatory and Anti-Inflammatory Agents

  • David S. Newburg
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 501)


Human milk contains several systems that protect the infant from disease. A major humoral component of the acquired immune system, sIgA, has long been recognized in human milk. Milk also contains large numbers of immune system leukocytes, including polymorphonucleocytes and macrophages. More recently, anti-inflammatory components that attenuate the activity of these cellular components, thereby modulating the immune system of milk and of the infant, have been described. Taken as a whole, these systems seem to represent a means whereby human milk both protects the infant and carries information from the mother to the infant. The protective role of human milk is augmented by multifunctional agents such as lactoferrin and free fatty acids that are part of the innate immune system of milk and also make major contributions to the nutrition of the infant. Lactoferrin may also modulate iron absorption from milk


Human Milk Innate Immune System Milk Component Soluble Cytokine Receptor Topical Microbicide 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

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  • David S. Newburg

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