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Keywords:

  • cord blood lymphocytes;
  • cell proliferation;
  • immunoglobulin formation;
  • maternal colostrum and milk;
  • healthy and allergic mothers

Maternal milk has beneficial effects on the development and function of the newborn's immune system. Whether the milk of allergic mother has the same effects as the milk of healthy mothers is not yet quite clear. To contribute to the characterization of its immunomodulatory action, we tested the effect of milk of healthy and allergic mothers on the proliferation and immunoglobulin formation in cultures of cord blood mononuclear leucocytes (CBML) of newborns of healthy and allergic mothers. CBML proliferation was tested by 3H-thymidine incorporation, IgM, IgG and IgA production by reverse ELISPOT. CBML response was examined in unstimulated cultures and after stimulation with polyclonal activators in the presence or absence of colostrum or milk. The cells of children of allergic mothers have a significantly higher proliferative activity than those of children of healthy mothers. Maternal colostrum/milk in high doses markedly suppresses cell proliferation after stimulation with polyclonal activators, whereas lower milk doses in the cultures have no such effect and exert a rather stimulatory action. Immunoglobulin production by cord blood lymphocytes is also different in the two groups of children. Low basal immunoglobulin formation is increased after stimulation with a strong polyclonal activator of B cells –Bacillus firmus, CBML of children of allergic mothers produce more IgA than those of children of healthy mothers. The stimulated production of all immunoglobulin classes in cells of children of healthy mothers is still enhanced by colostrum/milk. Children of allergic mothers show a markedly increased production of only IgM and IgA. The effect of healthy and allergic colostrum and milk on cell proliferation and immunoglobulin production is similar. The lymphocytes of children of allergic mothers differ from the lymphocytes of children of healthy mothers in their proliferative activity and the ability to form immunoglobulin already at birth.