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.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Nutrition and Dietetics