Mother’s milk provide immunity to a newborn
Mother’s milk provide immunity to a newborn:- A Mother’s milk could boost the immunity of a newborn and that too in such a way that it would work against certain diseases like tuberculosis (TB) just as the vaccination does, suggests new research.
“Some vaccines are not safe to be given to a newborn baby and others just do not work very well in newborns,” said the lead researcher Ameae Walker, Professor at the University of California, Riverside School of Medicine in the US.
“If we can further instead the vaccinate mom or boost her vaccination shortly before she becomes pregnant, the transferred immune cells during breastfeeding will ensure that the baby is protected early on,” Walker explained.
Scientists have also long understood that a mother’s milk further provides immune protection against some infectious agents through the transfer of some antibodies, a process referred to as “passive immunity.”
Mother’s milk contributes to a baby’s development
The new research, which is published in the Journal of Immunology, showed that a mother’s milk also contributes to further development of the baby’s own immune system by a process that the team calls “maternal educational immunity.”
Some specific maternal immune cells in a mother’s milk cross the wall of baby’s intestine to enter an immune organ, which is called the thymus. Once there, they “educate” developing the cells to attack the same infectious organisms to which the mother has been exposed.
The researchers have shown that you can further vaccinate the mother and results in vaccination of the baby through this process.
One of the infectious agents which the research team has studied was the organism that causes tuberculosis. Generally, babies are directly vaccinated against TB do not have a very good response.
“We hope that by vaccinating the mother, who will eventually nurse the baby, we will improve infant immunity against TB,” Walker said.
“Of course, clinical trials will need to be conducted to test whether this is the case in humans,” Walker said.