Infant feeding practices have the potential to influence risk for the development of asthma in childhood through several pathways. First, human milk is a complex substance that provides both potentially protective compounds such as secretory IgA and growth factors, as well as inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines, all of which may influence susceptibility to infection. Whatever food is given to a newborn provides early and prolonged exposure to potential antigens including allergens. Finally, substances taken by an infant by mouth interact with the largest immunologic organ in the human body, the intestinal mucosa. It has been speculated that substances in human milk may exert immunomodulatory effects either through interactions with the gut-associated lymphoid tissue or at distal locations, after crossing the mucosal barrier and migrating to susceptible organs.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Title of host publication||Asthma Prevention|
|Number of pages||15|
|State||Published - Jan 1 2005|
ASJC Scopus subject areas