subject: immunoglobulin

Future Plastic: Biofilms Derived from Colostral Milk Proteins

Future Plastic: Biofilms Derived from Colostral Milk Proteins

We all know that plastics are bad for the environment, and there is ongoing research indicating they are harmful to humans as well. When microplastics—less than 5 mm in length—get into oceans and tributaries, they end up in the fish and plants that we may consume. But plastic is an integral part of our lives. Computers, cars, and many household appliances are, or include components made of, plastic. Medical equipment like syringes, gloves, and the little plastic filters that go over thermometers for each new patient are one-time use items that help ensure good hygiene. And, of course, much of the food we buy is wrapped in plastic for both convenience as well as protection from contamination. In fact, it’s hard to imagine giving up the assurances that plastic can provide us when it comes to keeping our food safe. But advances in the development of milk protein-based edible films may soon make those wrappers not only less wasteful but even beneficial to our health, thus letting us have our cake and safely eating it, too. Read More...

Antibody Type, Specificity, and Source Influence Their Survival in the Infant Gut

Antibody Type, Specificity, and Source Influence Their Survival in the Infant Gut

Maternal antibodies play an important role in protecting newborns from harmful pathogens. Antibodies known as immunoglobulins (Igs) are transferred from the mother’s placenta into the fetus, where they protect the infant while the infant’s immune system is still developing, Human milk also contains many different Igs, such as IgA, IgM, IgG, and secretory forms of IgA and IgM. Consuming human milk provides additional immune protection to infants and has been shown to reduce the risk of infectious diseases. Read More...

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...

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