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J Pediatr. 2001 Jan;138(1):109-12.

Abundant human beta-defensin-1 expression in milk and mammary gland epithelium.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City, Iowa 52242, USA.


Human beta-defensin-1 (HBD-1) was detected in breast milk in concentrations of approximately 1 to 10 microg/mL. Breast tissue during lactation showed HBD-1 expression in mammary gland epithelia and within luminal secretions. The peptide demonstrated antimicrobial activity against Escherichia coli. HBD-1 may augment neonatal host defenses through antimicrobial effects or prime the adaptive immune system at mucosal surfaces.

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