Prevention of Atopy: Neonatal Aspects

  • Robert N. Hamburger
  • Seth M. Asser
Conference paper


The allergy-prone human infant fortunately differs from other small mammals with regard to early sensitization. It has been reported by Jarrett (1977) that ingestion of low antigen doses predisposes to IgE production in rodents. This observation led to the hypothesis that breast-fed human infants “denied access to large doses of food antigens in infancy” would be more prone to IgE sensitization to those foods in a manner similar to that observed in rodents (Gerrard 1979). That this is not the case is evidenced by double-blind or controlled studies revealing a lowered incidence of IgE-mediated allergic disease in breast-fed human infants compared with infants fed with cow’s milk formula (Hamburger and Orgel 1976a, b; Matthew et al. 1977; Ziering et al. 1979; Hide and Buyer 1981; Mellon et al. 1983), confirming the earlier clinical observations of Grulee and Sanford (1936) and Glazer and Johnstone (1953). Furthermore, the longer and more exclusive the breast feeding, the lower the incidence of sensitization and allergic disease (Orgel et al. 1975; Orgel and Hamburger 1976; Saarinen et al. 1979; Hamburger et al. 1983), the lower the total IgE level, and the lower the specific IgE and IgG antibody to cow’s milk proteins and to egg proteins observed (Hamburger 1981; Hamburger et al. 1983; Hamburger 1984). The issue, however, is not yet resolved, with other studies (Halpern et al. 1973; Ferguson et al. 1983) revealing no difference in the incidence of allergic diseases in infants fed cow’s milk or soybean formulas vs breast feeding, and Björksten and Juto (1983) and Björksten and Saarinen (1978) reporting increased cow’s milk sensitization in breast-fed babies.


Allergic Rhinitis Allergic Disease Allergy Clin Immunol Breast Feeding Prophylaxis Regimen 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert N. Hamburger
    • 1
  • Seth M. Asser
    • 1
  1. 1.Pediatric Department, Immunology and Allergy Division/M009DUniversity of CaliforniaSan Diego La JollaUSA

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