Human milk composition differs in healthy mothers and mothers with celiac disease
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PURPOSE: To investigate whether breast-milk composition and microbiota differ in healthy mothers and mothers with celiac disease (CD) to ultimately contribute to identify additional factors determining CD risk. METHODS: Breast-milk samples from healthy mothers (n = 12) and mothers with CD (n = 12) were collected. Cytokines and secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) were analyzed by bead-arrays and flow cytometry and human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) were assessed by capillary electrophoresis with laser-induced fluorescence (CE-LIF) detection. Breast-milk microbiota composition was analyzed by conventional and quantitative real-time PCR. RESULT: Breast milk from CD mothers showed significantly lower levels of interleukin (IL) 12p70 (P < 0.042), transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 (P < 0.018) and sIgA (P < 0.003) and almost significantly lower levels of interferon (IFN)-γ (P < 0.058). Six mothers in each group belonged to the secretor Le(a-b+) type, one to the secretor Le(a-b-) type and five to the non-secretor Le(a+b-) type. CD mothers of non-secretor Le(a+b-) type showed increased Lacto-N-tetraose content (P < 0.042) compared with healthy mothers. CD mothers' milk showed reduced gene copy numbers of Bifidobacterium spp. (P < 0.026) and B. fragilis group (P < 0.044). CONCLUSION: CD mothers' breast milk is characterized by a reduced abundance of immunoprotective compounds (TGF-β1 and sIgA) and bifidobacteria. The reduction in these components could theoretically diminish the protective effects of breast-feeding on the child's future risk of developing CD.
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