Human breast milk immunology: a review

Paramasivam, K, Michie, C, Opara, E and Jewell, AP (2006) Human breast milk immunology: a review. International Journal of Fertility and Women's Medicine, 51(5), pp. 208-217. ISSN (print) 1534-892X

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Breast feeding has been shown to enhance the development of the immune system of the newborn as well as provide protection against enteric and respiratory infections. It has been suggested that implementation of breast feeding programs has the potential to save hundreds of thousands of lives worldwide. Human milk is a bodily fluid which, apart from being an excellent nutritional source for the growing infant, also contains a variety of immune components such as antibodies, growth factors, cytokines, antimicrobial compounds, and specific immune cells. These help to support the immature immune system of the newborn baby, and protect it against infectious risks during the postnatal period while its own immune system matures. This article reviews some of the factors in human breast milk that give it these important properties.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: breast milk, immunology, cytokines, infection, epidermal-growth-factor, human colostrum, allergic inflammation, lactoferrin binds, escherichia-coli, immune-system, cells, immunoglobulin, chemokines, secretion
Research Area: Nursing and midwifery
Infection and immunology
Faculty, School or Research Centre: Faculty of Science (until 2011) > School of Life Sciences
Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences (until 2013)
Depositing User: Mark Brennan
Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2008
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2010 09:10

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