Send to

Choose Destination
Neonatology. 2018;114(3):242-250. doi: 10.1159/000489387. Epub 2018 Jun 25.

Survival of Immunoglobulins from Human Milk to Preterm Infant Gastric Samples at 1, 2, and 3 h Postprandial.

Author information

Nutrition Program, School of Biological and Population Health Sciences, College of Public Health and Human Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, USA.
Department of Pediatrics, University of California, Sacramento, California, USA.



Human milk immunoglobulins (Ig) are an important support for the naïve infant immune system; yet the extent to which these proteins survive within the infant digestive tract, particularly for preterm infants, is poorly studied.


Our objective was to evaluate the survival of human milk Igs in the preterm stomach across postprandial time.


Human milk and infant gastric samples were collected from 11 preterm (23-32 weeks gestational age) mother-infant pairs within 7-98 days postnatal age. Preterm gastric samples were collected 1, 2, and 3 h after the beginning of the feeding. Samples were analyzed for concentration of total IgA (secretory IgA [SIgA]/IgA), total secretory component (SC/SIgA/SIgM), total IgM (SIgM/IgM), and IgG via enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Ig-chain fragment peptides were determined using peptidomic analysis. One-way analysis of variance with repeated measures followed by Tukey's multiple comparison tests was applied.


Concentrations of total IgA were lower in the gastric contents at 3 h postprandial compared with human milk and gastric contents at 1 and 2 h. Human milk SC/SIgA/SIgM, IgG, and total IgM concentrations remained stable in the preterm stomach across postprandial time. Peptide counts from the Ig alpha-chain and the Ig gamma-chain increased in gastric contents from 1 to 2 h postprandial. Peptide counts from the human milk Ig-chain, Ig-chain, and SC were stable across postprandial time. These peptides from Ig-chains were not present in human milk but were released in the stomach due to their partial degradation.


Human milk total SC (SIgA/SC/SIgM), total IgM, and IgG survived mostly intact through the preterm infant stomach, while total IgA was -partially digested.


Breast milk; Digestion; Gastric contents; Passive immunity; Peptidomic antibodies; Polymeric immunoglobulin receptor; Premature infants

[Available on 2019-06-25]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for S. Karger AG, Basel, Switzerland
Loading ...
Support Center