Aim: The aim of our study was to analyse cytokine composition of human milk and its relationship to the development of eosinophilic colitis (EC).
Methods: Cytokines were measured by ELISA method in breast milk of 20 mothers of infants who developed EC and 20 controls.
Results: We found significantly higher concentrations of interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) (Th1 cytokine) in breast milk received by EC infants compared to controls (p = 0.0004). In contrary, IL-18 (Th1-inducing cytokine) was significantly higher in breast milk received by healthy infants comparing to EC infants (p = 0.001). Regulatory cytokine transforming growth factor beta1 (TGF-beta1) showed higher concentrations in breast milk received by healthy infants, although the difference from EC group was not significant (p = 0.072).
Conclusion: The results of our study showed that infants with EC were receiving breast milk with a possibly risky cytokine pattern indicating cytokine imbalance, impaired immunoregulation and the early Th1 shift.