Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Human Colostrum and Breast Milk

Source: SAGE journals

This study proved traces of TRAIL ( known anti-cancer agent) in human breast milk
" To our knowledge, this is the first time that TRAIL has
been measured in colostrum and human breast milk. This
study has revealed much higher TRAIL concentrations in
colostrum and breast milk compared to the levels of circulating
serum TRAIL. Although previous studies have
shown that breast cells express TRAIL,
 it was unexpected
that the mean level of soluble TRAIL detected in colostrum
reached 48.6 ng/mL, approximately 2-fold higher than the level
previously reported in the conjunctival sac fluid
approximately 40-fold greater than the level measured in
human saliva,
and > 400-fold greater than the level found
in human serum. Although we observed a significant
decline in levels of TRAIL in human breast milk measured
at day 4 or 5, these concentrations were still much higher
than those usually found in human serum/plasma and were
in the range of concentrations that are able to kill cancer
 Conversely, TRAIL was not detected in ready-tofeed
infant formulas.
It is well known that human milk is more than simple
food for infants, representing a complex biological liquid
containing many immunoactive agents. In the context of
our study, the important role of breastfeeding in the prevention
of certain childhood cancers, such as lymphoblastic
leukemia, Hodgkin’s disease, and neuroblastoma, has been
previously demonstrated,
and the presence in human milk
of substances with antitumor activity, such as human alphalactalbumin
made lethal to tumor cells (HAMLET), has
been reported.
However, in consideration of the strong
anticancer activity of TRAIL, which is currently used as a
recombinant protein in many clinical trials against a variety
of human cancers,
endogenous soluble TRAIL represents
a strong candidate to explain the overall biological effect of
breastfeeding against cancer. In this respect, it has recently
been shown that certain
Lactobacillus strains induce
TRAIL production and facilitate natural killer activity
against cancer cells.
Thus, our hypothesis is that high concentrations of soluble
TRAIL present in human colostrum and breast milk
might play a key role in mediating the anticancer activity of
human milk."

TNF-related apoptosis inducing ligand (TRAIL) is a pleiotropic cytokine, which plays a key role in the immune
system as well as in controlling the balance of apoptosis and proliferation in various organs and tissues.

To investigate the presence and levels of soluble TRAIL in human colostrum and milk.

The levels of soluble human TRAIL were measured in human colostrum (day 2 after delivery) and breast milk (day
5 after delivery). The presence of TRAIL was also measured in infant formula.

Levels of soluble TRAIL in the colostrum and mature human milk were, respectively, at least 400 and 100 fold higher
than those detected in human serum. No TRAIL was detected in formula.

Human soluble TRAIL is present at extremely high levels in human colostrum and human milk and might have
a significant role in mediating the anti-cancer activity of human milk.


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