Scientists Reveal the Secrets of Breastfeeding to Build Immunity

Bonn, – Everyone knows that breast milk strengthens the child’s immune system, supports the gut flora. These facts are common knowledge. But how does it work? What is the molecular mechanism behind this phenomenon? And why can’t this be the same as bottle feeding?

The secret was not known until a team from the RESIST Cluster of Excellence at Hannover Medical School (MHH) recently discovered how alarms are such a mechanism in a project involving University of Bonn. The results have previously been published online in medical journals Gastroenterology last week.

“Alarms are the ‘gold’ in breast milk. This protein prevents harmful intestinal colonization disorders that can lead to blood poisoning and intestinal inflammation,” said Team Leader Prof. Dr. Dorothee Viemann of the Hannover Medical School (MHH) Clinic for Pediatric Pneumology, Allergology and Neonatology. .

The postpartum gut immune system, namely intestinal flora and mucosa, matures through interactions with bacteria in the environment. This increases the optimal bacterial diversity that lasts a lifetime, providing protection against many diseases. “Alarmin controls this adaptation process,” explains Professor Viemann, whose research has revealed that these peptides and proteins originate in breast milk and appear in the intestinal tract of children.

The birthing process plays a role in this, as babies born by planned caesarean section show lower levels of alarmin than babies born vaginally. In addition, premature babies are less able to produce alarmin on their own than term babies. Such persons are thus more susceptible to chronic inflammatory disease.

For this research work, partially supported by Volkswagen Foundation as part of the “Off the Beaten Track “and by RESIST Cluster of Excellence, the team measured the concentration of alarmin in stool samples of infants in the first year of life to study its effects. thereof on the development of the flora and intestinal mucosa.

“Supplementation with this protein can support the development of newborns who are not generating enough alarms or getting enough breast milk. It can prevent a variety of long-term conditions associated with bowel colonization disorders, such as chronic colitis and obesity,” said Professor Viemann.

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This claim is supported by the observation, inter alia, that administering a single alarmin in a mouse model provides protection against poor colonization and related diseases. Now based on their findings, the RESIST researchers are planning further preclinical work, as well as clinical studies at a later stage.

The lead authors are Maike Willers of MHH and Dr. Thomas Lilin from the University of Bonn. “Our contribution is to carry out all bioinformatic pre-processing and analysis of genetic data from the totality of all microorganisms derived from the stool samples of infants, which provide information about the composition and possible imbalances in the gut flora,” said Dr. Review from the LIMES Institute at the University of Bonn.

Mathematical modeling, he explained, was critical in enabling scientists to demonstrate that alarms significantly impact the development of gut flora.

Editor: Rohmat Haryadi

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