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Breastfeeding promotes early neonatal regulatory T cell expansion and immune tolerance of non-inherited maternal antigens
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  • Hannah Wood,
  • Animesh Acharjee,
  • Hayden Pearce,
  • Mohammed Quraishi,
  • Richard Powell,
  • Amanda Rossiter,
  • Andrew Beggs,
  • Andrew Ewer,
  • Paul Moss,
  • Gergely Toldi
Hannah Wood
University of Birmingham
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Animesh Acharjee
University of Birmingham
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Hayden Pearce
University of Birmingham
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Mohammed Quraishi
University of Birmingham
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Richard Powell
University of Birmingham
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Amanda Rossiter
University of Birmingham
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Andrew Beggs
University of Birmingham
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Andrew Ewer
University of Birmingham
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Paul Moss
University of Birmingham
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Gergely Toldi
University of Birmingham
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Abstract

Background: Breastfeeding is associated with long-term health benefits, such as a lower incidence of allergy, asthma, diabetes or celiac disease. However, little is known regarding how the maternal and neonatal immune systems interact after parturition when the neonate receives nutrition from maternal breastmilk. Methods: We undertook a comparative analysis of immune repertoire and function at birth and 3 weeks of age in a cohort of 38 term neonates born by caesarean section grouped according to feeding method (breastmilk versus formula). We used flow cytometry to study the immune phenotype in neonatal and maternal blood samples and mixed lymphocyte reactions to establish the proliferation response of neonatal versus maternal lymphocytes and vice versa. The microbiome of neonatal stool samples was also investigated using 16S rRNA sequencing. Results: We show that the proportion of regulatory T cells (Tregs) increases in this period and is nearly two-fold higher in exclusively breastfed neonates compared to those who received formula milk only. Moreover, breastfed neonates show a specific and Treg-dependent reduction in proliferative T cell responses to non-inherited maternal antigens (NIMA), associated with a reduction in inflammatory cytokine production. Conclusions: These data indicate that exposure of the neonate to maternal cells through breastfeeding acts to drive the maturation of Tregs and ‘tolerizes’ the neonate towards NIMA.

Peer review status:Published

05 Oct 2020Submitted to Allergy
06 Oct 2020Submission Checks Completed
06 Oct 2020Assigned to Editor
12 Oct 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
29 Oct 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
30 Oct 2020Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
08 Nov 20201st Revision Received
09 Nov 2020Assigned to Editor
09 Nov 2020Submission Checks Completed
11 Nov 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
25 Nov 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
01 Dec 2020Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
01 Dec 20202nd Revision Received
02 Dec 2020Submission Checks Completed
02 Dec 2020Assigned to Editor
04 Dec 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
11 Dec 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
15 Dec 2020Editorial Decision: Accept
28 Jan 2021Published in Allergy. 10.1111/all.14736