subject: immunoglobulin

The Dynamic Human Milk Proteome

The Dynamic Human Milk Proteome

Babies change a great deal in six months. Beyond the obvious that they grow bigger, considerable development occurs in all aspects of the infant’s physiology and anatomy, especially the brain, gastrointestinal tract, and immune system. New technologies have enabled scientists to discover which proteins are in milk and how they change over time to support this unique developmental period. Read More...

Maternal Milk Antibodies Prepare Newborn Mice to Host Commensal Gut Microbes

Maternal Milk Antibodies Prepare Newborn Mice to Host Commensal Gut Microbes

Our immune system protects us from many harmful microbes, but in doing so it needs to be able to differentiate between friend and foe. Our bodies harbor many beneficial gut bacteria that play important roles in digestion and immunity, and our immune system needs to react differently to these microbes compared with harmful pathogens. Read More...

Milk Protein Comparison Unveils Nutritional Gems for Human Infants

Milk Protein Comparison Unveils Nutritional Gems for Human Infants

As any new parent can tell you, human newborns are very needy—and for good reason. Born at an earlier developmental stage than their primate relatives, human infants must accomplish a great deal of fetal development (some say the equivalent of nine more months!) outside of the womb. Responsibility for this “fourth trimester” falls squarely on the shoulders of human breast milk, and so it is no surprise that decades of research have searched for attributes in human milk that support the unique developmental needs of human infants. While much of the focus has gone to milk fats and carbohydrates, a new study has turned the attention to milk proteins (1). Utilizing new methods in protein identification, Beck et al. present the most comprehensive human milk proteome (the list of the types and quantities of all proteins in milk) to date, as well as the first milk proteome for a nonhuman primate, the rhesus macaque. Despite having less total protein than rhesus macaque milk, Beck et al. found that human milk has more than three times the types of proteins in rhesus milk and higher quantities of nearly every milk protein that the two species share. Their findings demonstrate that from digestion, to immunity, to neurodevelopment, human infants get more of a boost from milk proteins than their primate cousins. Read More...

Infants Take Active Role in Passive Immunity

Infants Take Active Role in Passive Immunity

The transfer of immune components from a nursing mother to her offspring is called passive immunity. Calling this system passive, however, wrongly implies that antibodies, macrophages, and other anti-microbial factors in milk are simply along for the ride with the nutritional factors that transfer from the maternal blood stream. Numerous studies have demonstrated that maternal factors such as nutrition, stress, and illness influence the concentration of immunological constituents in milk (1-3). And now, a growing body of research, including a new study by Breakey et al. (4), indicates that passive immunity may be actively influenced by the health status of the breastfeeding infant (5-7). Can a sick infant actually increase the quantity of particular immune factors in their mother’s milk to help fight off infection? Read More...

Celiac Disease Influences Breast Milk Composition

Celiac Disease Influences Breast Milk Composition

Nearly 1% of Americans suffer from the autoimmune disorder called celiac disease. For these people, the digestion of foods containing gluten causes the immune system to attack the lining of their small intestine, resulting in inflammation that prevents absorption of nutrients. But can it also influence breast milk composition? A new study reports that mothers with celiac disease produce milk with lower concentrations of protective factors, including antibodies and probiotic bacteria. Read More...

Milk Peptides Fight Bacteria

Milk Peptides Fight Bacteria

Milk is a wonderfully complex fluid that is not only nutritious but is also physiologically proactive. Recently, David Dallas and his colleagues from University of California at Davis used a cutting-edge approach to probe the depths of milk composition. The initial results revealed that human breast milk contains proteins which are digested into peptides, some with antibacterial properties. Read More...

From Mice and Cows and Kangaroos to Dairy Industry Value

From Mice and Cows and Kangaroos to Dairy Industry Value

With the development of genomic tools for dairy cows, what value do studies of lactation genomics in mice and other animals hold for dairy innovation? A recent study reported in the January 2013 issue of Physiological Genomics is the latest in a series of studies of lactation in mice that have involved scientists affiliated with the IMGC. Read More...

Protective Cells in Breast Milk: For the Infant and the Mother?

Protective Cells in Breast Milk: For the Infant and the Mother?

Babies are well protected and nourished while still in the mother's womb, but what happens after they are born when they are suddenly exposed to a challenging environment full of new and invasive bugs? The mother steps in again by providing breast milk. This magical dynamic fluid contains not only the necessary nutrients for the optimal growth of the infant, but also activated immune cells. Two breakthrough studies show that these immune cells selectively migrate into colostrum and milk. Read More...

From Mother’s Gut to Milk

From Mother's Gut to Milk

In a world filled with harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites, it seems quite paradoxical that a human infant would be born with an immature and inefficient immune system. That is, of course, until you realize the infant benefits from mom’s immune system hard at work in mucosal surfaces. The process of transferring immunity, also known as passive immunity, begins during pregnancy with the transfer of Immunglobulin G (IgG) cells from maternal to fetal circulation through the placenta. At birth, the mammary gland takes over, providing numerous types of immunogloblulins (antibodies) and other immune factors. Read More...

Chimeric Milk Antibodies Bind More Pathogens

Chimeric Milk Antibodies Bind More Pathogens

If antibodies were superheroes, then human milk secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) would be “The Avengers”, taking on the pathogens no single superhero could stand. Milk sIgA is able to protect infants against a multitude of respiratory and gastrointestinal pathogens, including E. coli, salmonella, and pneumonia. But perhaps its greatest known power comes from its unique molecular structure—two IgA molecules held together by a joining chain (J) and a secretory component (s)—allowing sIgA to resist degradation by gastrointestinal enzymes. This makes it one of the few immune factors at the front lines able to bind bacteria and viruses before they attach to the infant’s gastrointestinal tract. Read More...