About this Research Topic
Early life exposures are known to be associated with health outcomes in later life. “Developmental Origins of Health and Disease” (DOHaD) hypothesis, which suggests fetal developmental 'plasticity' and discordance between intra- and extra-uterine exposures produces the greatest adverse effects. During the first trimester of pregnancy, programming of growth trajectories will have a profound effect on fetal and infant requirements for micronutrients and possibly immune system. Postpartum, human milk becomes the main source of nutrition during a critical period of metabolic and immune programming. It has been suggested that breastfed infants have a different immune system development compared to formula-fed infants, but the underlying mechanisms remain to be elucidated. Recent data suggests that breastfed infants have differing antibody response to vaccines, higher abundance of Bifiobacteria and Bacteroides than formula-fed infants. Previous studies have looked at association of human milk components and gut microbiota role in immune function during infancy period using clinical and animal studies. However, there is no clear evidence on the crucial prenatal or postnatal factors or combination of factors in human milk or environmental factors responsible for the underlying changes and the molecular mechanisms driving the beneficial effects during infancy.
The goal of this Research Topic is to collate state-of-the-art research focused on how prenatal and postnatal events, such as breastfeeding/human milk composition, affect immune function in later life. We welcome the submission of Reviews, Systematic Reviews, Mini-Reviews, Hypothesis and Theory, Perspectives, Clinical Trials and Original Research articles that allow to narrow existing gaps in the knowledge. Systematic reviews are particularly encouraged. We seek submission of articles around, but not limited to, the following sub-topics:
1. Associations between human milk composition and infant health outcomes, including immune system development;
2. Role of breastfeeding in influencing immunity and non-communicable diseases development in infants;
3. Comparison of immune responses in breastfed vs. formula-fed newborns;
4. Differences in the antibody response to vaccines between breastfed and formula-fed infants;
5. Role of nutrition in the development of immune microbiome in early life;
6. Influence of nutrition in predisposing infants to allergies;
7. Current animal models to study the impact of pre- and postnatal events on the immune response.
Keywords: Breast milk, human milk, chemokines, cytokines, polyunsaturated fatty acids, microbiota, human milk oligosaccharides, lactoferrin, sIgA, immunoglobulins, metabolites, immune response, health outcomes
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