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Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2009 Sep;20(6):528-35. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3038.2008.00828.x. Epub 2009 Feb 10.

Transfer of antibodies across the placenta and in breast milk from mothers on intravenous immunoglobulin.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, CEP: 05403-000, São Paulo, SP, Brazil.


We studied the levels of immunoglobulins in colostrum, milk and sera from two common variable immunodeficiency (CVID) mothers (M1 and M2), and in sera from their newborn infants. During pregnancy they continued intravenous immunoglobulin therapy (IVIG). Antibody levels from maternal and cord blood collected at delivery and colostrum and milk, collected on the 3rd and 7th post-partum days, respectively, were analyzed. Although cord/maternal blood ratios of total immunoglobulins and subclasses, as well as specific antibodies differed between M1 and M2, both showed good placental transfer of anti-protein and anti-polysaccharide antibodies, despite lower cord/maternal blood ratios in M2. Anti-Streptococcus pneumoniae antibody avidity indexes were similar between paired maternal and cord serum. Both mothers' colostrum and milk samples showed only traces of IgA, and IgM and IgG levels in colostrum were within normal range in M1, whereas M2 presented elevated IgG and low IgM levels, when compared with healthy mothers. The study of colostrum and milk activity showed that they strongly inhibited enteropathogenic Escherichia coli adhesion in vitro. CVID patients must be informed about the relevance of regular IVIG administration during pregnancy, not only for their own health but also for their immune immature offspring. Breast-feeding should be encouraged as colostra from these CVID patients strongly inhibited E. coli adhesion to human epithelial cells thus providing immunological protection plus nutritional and psychological benefits for the infant.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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