Breast-feeding is associated with a reduced frequency of acute otitis media and high serum antibody levels against NTHi and outer membrane protein vaccine antigen candidate P6.

Sabirov A, Casey JR, Murphy TF, Pichichero ME.
Pediatr Res. 2009 Nov;66(5):565-70.


Nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) causes acute otitis media (AOM) in infants. Breast-feeding protects against AOM and/or nasopharyngeal (NP) colonization; however, the mechanism of protection is incompletely understood. Children with AOM and healthy children were studied according to feeding status: breastfed,breast/formula fed, or formula fed.

Cumulative episodes of AOM, ELISA titers of serum IgG antibodies to whole-cell NTHi and vaccine candidate outer membrane protein P6, bactericidal titers of serum and NP colonization by NTHi were assessed. A lower incidence of AOM was found in breast- versus formula-fed children. Levels of specific serum IgG antibody to NTHi and P6 were highest in breast-fed, intermediate in breast/formula fed, and lowest in formula-fed infants. Serum IgG antibody to P6 correlated with bactericidal activity against NTHi. Among children with AOM, the prevalence of NTHi in the NP was lower in breast- versus nonbreast-fed infants. We conclude that breast-feeding shows an association with higher levels of antibodies to NTHi and P6, suggesting that breast-feeding modulates the serum immune response to NTHi and P6. Higher serum IgG might facilitate protection against AOM and NP colonization in breast-fed children.


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