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absorption of immunoglobulins from breastmilk - (Sep/09/2013 )

in humans, can intact/whole immunoglobulins (or active portions thereof) from breast milk be absorbed by the newborn or infant GI into the bloodstream to an effective form of passive transfer? I always thought this only happen in some animals (for example ruminants), but I keep hearing in my lectures one of the benefits of breast milk is antibodies....I do agree they may have some local effects in the GI (for example IgA has secretory protein that helps is evade digestion). another possibility I've come across is that antibodies can be effective even hacked up and maybe they could be taken up by pinocytosis as a macromolecule, but this seems dubious as well...let me know if anyone has any other suggest :) 


btw... I meant effective form of natural passive immunity -antibodies that work!

also, I think breast milk is AWESOME and I am in not way diminishing its value!! i am simply curious and want to be properly informed :) and either way, I bet antibodies are a great source of amino acids.


I'm not sure the exact mechanism but it makes sense to me that antibodies capable of neutralizing or coating a pathogen would potentially be able to do so within the gut (if they can withstand the acidic environment) and potentially coat mucosal surfaces preventing pathogen entry. 


Check out the following article - 'Transfer of antibody via mother's milk'.  I think it will be helpful.


As a personal aside, - I think it is fantastic to question how things work and just because a person wants to understand more about why something is the way it is (why breastmilk is so very healthy) doesn't mean in any way that they are diminishing it's value but I understand why you needed to qualify that you weren't being negative I just think it's unfortunate that it is necessary when asking scientific questions........


thank you so much for the info, and the article link!! I was trying to piece bits of info together, but to see it all tied together in one abstract, including the animal comparison, was very nice:) and especially nice to be on the right tract.

and yeah, I usually try to be sensitive with "sensitive topics", and since I'm new to the forum I wasn't sure how sensitive I had to be lol....but I guess talking with other inquisitive science minds maybe I can relax a bit on here with the diplomacy ;)