The human milk microbiota: Origin and potential roles in health and disease

Leonides Fernandez, Susana Langa, Virginia Martin, Antonio Maldonado, Esther Jimenez, Rocio Martin, Juan M. Rodriguez*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

608 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Human milk has been traditionally considered sterile: however, recent studies have shown that it represents a continuous supply of commensal, mutualistic and/or potentially probiotic bacteria to the infant gut. Culture-dependent and -independent techniques have revealed the dominance of staphylococci, streptococci, lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria in this biological fluid, and their role on the colonization of the infant gut. These bacteria could protect the infant against infections and contribute to the maturation of the immune system, among other functions. Different studies suggest that some bacteria present in the maternal gut could reach the mammary gland during late pregnancy and lactation through a mechanism involving gut monocytes. Thus, modulation of maternal gut microbiota during pregnancy and lactation could have a direct effect on infant health. On the other hand, mammary dysbiosis may lead to mastitis, a condition that represents the first medical cause for undesired weaning. Selected strains isolated from breast milk can be good candidates for use as probiotics. In this review, their potential uses for the treatment of mastitis and to inhibit mother-to-infant transfer of HIV are discussed. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalPharmacological Research
Volume69
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013

Keywords

  • Human milk
  • Breastfeeding
  • Bacteria
  • Mammary microbiota
  • Dendritic cells
  • Mastitis
  • Probiotics
  • HIV
  • RESISTANT STAPHYLOCOCCUS-AUREUS
  • COMPLETE GENOME SEQUENCE
  • LACTOBACILLUS-FERMENTUM CECT5716
  • TO-CHILD TRANSMISSION
  • COAGULASE-NEGATIVE STAPHYLOCOCCI
  • INFANT-FEEDING PATTERNS
  • LACTIC-ACID BACTERIA
  • BREAST-MILK
  • INFECTIOUS MASTITIS
  • COMMENSAL BACTERIA

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