Background Precise relationship between breastfeeding and infant allergy is poorly understood.
Objective Aim was to quantify TGF-β1 and IL-10 in colostrum and mature milk from allergic and non-allergic mothers and to verify relationship with allergic disease development.
Methods Mothers (13 allergics, nine controls) of 22 newborns participated to prospective study on development of children atopy. Colostrum and mature milk were assayed for TGF-β1 and IL-10 by ELISA. Children underwent paediatrician evaluation at 6 months of life.
Results Data are presented as median values and range. A significant difference in concentration of TGF-β1 between colostrum (330, range 0–3400 pg/mL) and mature milk (215, range 0–2400 pg/mL) was observed in samples from allergic mothers (P=0.015). In mature milk TGF-β1 was significantly lower in allergic (215, range 0–2400 pg/mL) than in non-allergic mothers (1059, range 0–6250 pg/mL) (P=0.015). IL-10 was weakly expressed without significant differences between allergic (4.8, range 0–42 and 9.5, range 0–42 pg/mL in colostrum and in mature milk) and non-allergic mothers (0, range 0–42 pg/mL in colostrum and 0, range 0–42 pg/mL in mature milk). After 6 months 46% infants from allergic mothers, but none from controls, presented atopic dermatitis.
Conclusion TGF-β1 was significantly less secreted in mature milk of allergic mothers, while no difference in IL-10 was found. Particular cytokine patterns in milk could influence development of atopic diseases. Further immunological studies in this field are necessary.