Anti-Inflammatory Characteristics of Human Milk
When first proposed, the hypothesis that human milk was anti-inflammatory was supported by 2 observations: poor function of milk leukocytes and the presence in milk of components that could modify inflammatory processes. This hypothesis is now supported by studies documenting anti-inflammatory effects in animal models and suppression of humoral and cellular components of inflammation in vitro. To date, two mechanisms have been demonstrated: alteration of leukocyte function and modification of cytokine biology. It is not clear whether these mechanisms are only topical effects in the digestive tract, or whether absorption of milk components results in systemic effects. While inflammation benefits the host as a defense mechanism and precursor to immune responses, it also contributes to the clinical manifestations of illness and is an important early component of wound-healing responses that result in scar. The biological effects of milk’s anti-inflammatory character may be to minimize clinical symptomatology without losing immunoresponsiveness for the breast-fed infant, and to minimize scar formation during healing responses.
KeywordsHuman Milk Reactive Oxygen Metabolite Microbicidal Activity Milk Component Reprod Immunol
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Buescher ES, Mcllheran SM. Colostral antioxidants: separation and characterization of two activities in human colostrum. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 1992;47–56.Google Scholar
- Gianella RA. Importance of the intestinal inflammatory reaction in salmonella-mediated intestinal secretion. Infect Immun 1979;23:140–145.Google Scholar
- Hanson LA, Carlsson B, Jalil F, Hahn-Zoric M, Hermodson S, Karlberg J, Mellander L, Khan SR, Lindblad B, Thiringer K, Zaman S. Antiviral and antibacterial factors in human milk. In: Hanson LA, editor. Biology of Human Milk. Volume 15, Nestlé Nutrition Workshop Series. New York: Raven Press; 1988. pp 141–157.Google Scholar
- Oksenberg JR, Persitz E, Brautbar C. Cellular immunity in human milk. Am J Reprod Immunol 1985; 8:125–129.Google Scholar
- Ostrea EA, Balun JE, Winkler R, Porter T. Influence of breast-feeding on the restoration of the low serum concentration of vitamin E and ß-carotene in the newborn infant. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1986; 154:1014–1017.Google Scholar
- Ravichandran KS, Collins TL, Burakoff SJ. CD4 and signal transduction. In: Littman DR, editor. The CD4 Molecule, Roles in T Lymphocytes and in HIV Disease. Curr Top Microbiol Immunol 1994;205:47–62.Google Scholar