Breast feeding by Mennonite mothers may protect infants against allergic disorders: Study
Heredity is a strong determinant of an allergic constitution, environmental factors, including farming exposures in childhood, maternal farming exposures provide strong protection against allergic disease in their children; however, the effect of farming lifestyle on human milk (HM) composition is unknown.Breast milk from Mennonite mothers is richer in neutral or beneficial bacteria,...
Heredity is a strong determinant of an allergic constitution, environmental factors, including farming exposures in childhood, maternal farming exposures provide strong protection against allergic disease in their children; however, the effect of farming lifestyle on human milk (HM) composition is unknown.
Breast milk from Mennonite mothers is richer in neutral or beneficial bacteria, certain cytokines and fatty acids, and IgA antibodies important for defense against bacteria. Their milk may give babies a better protection against allergens in infancy and later in life, reveals a new study.The milk contained higher levels of antibodies against allergens compared with that of mothers in urban and suburban regions.
The findings of the study are published in Frontiers in Immunology.
The objective of the study was to characterize the maternal immune effects of Old Order Mennonite (OOM) traditional farming lifestyle when compared with Rochester (ROC) families at higher risk for asthma and allergic diseases using HM as a proxy.
The study included HM samples collected at median 2 months of lactation from 52 OOM and 29 ROC mothers were assayed for IgA1 and IgA2 antibodies, cytokines, endotoxin, HM oligosaccharides (HMOs), and targeted fatty acid (FA) metabolites. Development of early childhood atopic diseases in children by 3 years of age was assessed. In addition to group comparisons, systems level network analysis was performed to identify communities of multiple HM factors in ROC and OOM lifestyle.
The results of the study were
• HM contains IgA1 and IgA2 antibodies broadly recognizing food, inhalant, and bacterial antigens. OOM HM has significantly higher levels of IgA to peanut, ovalbumin, dust mites, and Streptococcus equii as well TGF-β2, and IFN-λ3.
• A strong correlation occurred between maternal antibiotic use and levels of several HMOs. Path-based analysis of HMOs shows lower activity in the path involving lactoneohexaose (LNH) in the OOM as well as higher levels of lacto-N-neotetraose (LNnT) and two long-chain FAs C-18OH (stearic acid) and C-23OH (tricosanoic acid) compared with Rochester HM.
• OOM and Rochester milk formed five different clusters, e.g., butyrate production was associated with Prevotellaceae, Veillonellaceae, and Micrococcaceae cluster.
• Development of atopic disease in early childhood was more common in Rochester and associated with lower levels of total IgA, IgA2 to dust mite, as well as of Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP).
Seppo and team concluded that "Traditional, agrarian lifestyle, and antibiotic use are strong regulators of maternally derived immune and metabolic factors, which may have downstream implications for postnatal developmental programming of infant's gut microbiome and immune system."