Milk feeding type modulates the development of lymphocyte subsets.

Nutritional factors in the early age have a role on development and future health. On this basis, research from the Immunonutrition Group of the ICTAN center, in collaboration with IATA researchers, within the frame of a longitudinal study in population with increased celiac disease risk (PROFICEL), looked into the effect of milk feeding patterns (exclusive breast feeding versus formula or mixture feeding) on the development of lymphocyte subsets in 4 month old infants. The effect of the HLA genotype was also considered. Results showed that the distribution of certain markers in lymphocyte subsets is different depending on the feeding type. Infants on formula feeding showed a lower percentage of lymphocyte with regulatory features and a prolonged expression of constitutive activation markers, which suggests a delay in immune system maturation. No interaction was found between milk feeding type and HLA genotype. On this basis, the study of the immune modulatory factors in human milk might facilitate the development of food related strategies incorporating its beneficial effects.

Pozo-Rubio T, Capilla A, Mujico JR, et al. Influence of breastfeeding versus formula feeding on lymphocyte subsets in infants at risk of coeliac disease: the PROFICEL study. Eur J Nutr. 2013 Mar;52(2):637-46.

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