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Is there any relationship between cytokine spectrum of breast milk and occurence of eosinophilic colitis?


K Stechova, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Paediatrics, 2nd Faculty of Medicine, Charles University in Prague, V Uvalu 84, 150 06 Prague 5, Czech Republic.
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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.