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Human milk and intestinal host defense in newborns: an update.

Xanthou M, Bines J, Walker WA.

Neonatal Division, Aghia Sophra Children's Hospital, Athens, Greece.

In this update of the role of breast milk ingestion on passive and active protection of the human neonate, new observations and studies are presented that appear to support the concept that preterm and term infants should receive their mother's milk so far as possible. New objective evidence has been presented to support the role of breast milk in the protection of the newborn from intestinal and systemic infections. New concepts of the active role of breast milk growth factors on an accelerated development of the infant's own mucosal barrier function are presented, as well as preliminary data to support the role of breast milk growth factors in gut development. This new area of breast milk function, however, requires extensive clinical studies to support the practical value of breast milk in the development of the infant's own defenses.

Publication Types:

Review

Review, academic

PMID: 8540428 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]