Do milk-borne cytokines and hormones influence neonatal immune cell function?

Lorie A. Ellis, Andrea M. Mastro, Mary Frances Picciano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cytokines, growth factors and various hormones collectively control the proliferation, survival, differentiation and function of immune cells. A wide array of these compounds is present in maternal milk and ingested by neonates during a period of rapid maturation of gut-associated and peripheral lymphoid tissues. The functional consequences of most milk immunomodulatory constituents in neonates are unknown. However, there is evidence that milk prolactin acts as a developmental regulator of the neonatal immune system, supporting the premise that milk constituents with immunomodulatory activity may serve as neonatal immunodevelopment agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number5 SUPPL.
StatePublished - 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science


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