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Respiratory allergens in human milk: potential impact on susceptibility to allergic airway disease

Thursday, 17 October, 2013 - 11:30
Board 3

Poster Presenter: Patricia Macchiavernipatimacc@hotmail.com
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Background: Impact of exposure to environmental allergens during early life on allergic sensitization and disease development is controversial. Objective: We investigated whether airborne allergen from Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (Der p), a major cause of allergic asthma, is found in human breast-milk and examined its impact on allergic outcome in a mouse model. Methods:  Der p 1 was quantified in human colostrum and milk samples from Brasil, Australia and France by ELISA. Basophil degranulation assay was used to confirm immunogenicity of Der p. BALB/c mice were fostered by mothers exposed to Der p during lactation. Progeny allergic response to Der p was measured at 6-weeks. Results:  Der p 1 was present in 58% Brazilian, 70% French, and 78% Australian colostrum. Median [Der p 1] was similar between countries (96 pg/mL). In mature milk, Der p1 was found in 55% of samples, median [Der p 1] was 65·9 pg/mL and was significantly lower than in colostrum (p=0·0001). Der p 1-containing milks were able to induce basophils degranulation. Mice breastfed by Der p-exposed mothers had 5-fold increased levels of Der p specific IgE and IgG1 compared to mice breastfed by naïve mothers. Their allergic airway inflammation was not affected. Conclusion: Early life exposure to ubiquitous respiratory allergens can take place through breastfeeding. An animal model mimicking the human situation shows early life exposure to Der p through milk primes the immune system. The presence of respiratory allergens in breast-milk may be an important factor in driving the early immune function towards allergic disease.