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Breastfeed Med. 2013 Aug;8(4):354-62. doi: 10.1089/bfm.2013.0016. Epub 2013 May 22.

Human milk glycoproteins protect infants against human pathogens.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467, USA.

Abstract

Breastfeeding protects the neonate against pathogen infection. Major mechanisms of protection include human milk glycoconjugates functioning as soluble receptor mimetics that inhibit pathogen binding to the mucosal cell surface, prebiotic stimulation of gut colonization by favorable microbiota, immunomodulation, and as a substrate for bacterial fermentation products in the gut. Human milk proteins are predominantly glycosylated, and some biological functions of these human milk glycoproteins (HMGPs) have been reported. HMGPs range in size from 14 kDa to 2,000 kDa and include mucins, secretory immunoglobulin A, bile salt-stimulated lipase, lactoferrin, butyrophilin, lactadherin, leptin, and adiponectin. This review summarizes known biological roles of HMGPs that may contribute to the ability of human milk to protect neonates from disease.

PMID:
23697737
PMCID:
PMC3725943
DOI:
10.1089/bfm.2013.0016
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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