Sunday, December 28, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Breast-feeding: Variations on initial diets may have long-lasting effects

By
From page A3 | September 07, 2014 |

7monkey1C

Female rhesus monkeys breast-feed their babies. California National Primate Research Center/Courtesy photo

Infant rhesus monkeys receiving different diets early in life develop distinct immune systems that persist months after weaning, a study by researchers from UC Davis, the California National Primate Research Center at UCD and UC San Francisco has shown.

The study, which compares breast- and bottle-fed infants, appeared online Wednesday in Science Translational Medicine.

While the researchers expected that different diets would promote different intestinal bacteria (microbiota), they were surprised at how dramatically these microbes shaped immunologic development. Specifically, breast-fed macaques had more “memory” T cells and T helper 17 (TH17) cells, which are known to fight salmonella and other pathogens.

These differences persisted for months after the macaques had been weaned and placed on identical diets, indicating that variations in early diet may have long-lasting effects.

“We saw two different immune systems develop: one in animals fed mother’s milk and another in those fed formula,” said Dennis Hartigan-O’Connor, a Primate Center scientist in the Infectious Diseases Unit and Reproductive Sciences and Regenerative Medicine Unit, and an assistant professor in UCD’s department of medical microbiology and immunology.

“But what’s most startling is the durability of these differences. Infant microbes could leave a long-lasting imprint on immune function,” he said.

Previous research has highlighted the relationship between breast milk, microbiota and the developing immune system. For example, sugars in breast milk help grow specific bacteria, which in turn support certain immune cells. This new study is an important step towards understanding how these separate pieces link together and how they might influence the immune systems response to infections or vaccinations.

Macaques are born with virtually no TH17 cells, and must develop them during the first 18 months of life. Hartigan-O’Connor and other researchers have noted that some macaques develop large TH17 populations, while others have few of these cells. This could profoundly affect the animals’ ability to fight infection, particularly SIV, the simian strain of HIV.

To understand this variability, the investigators followed six breast- and six bottle-fed rhesus macaques from age five months to 12 months. At six months, they found significant differences in the two groups’ microbiota.

Specifically, the breast-fed macaques had larger numbers of the bacteria Prevotella and Ruminococcus, while the bottle-fed group had a greater abundance of Clostridium. Overall, the microbiota in breast-fed macaques was more diverse than in the bottle-fed group.

The big surprise came when examining their immune systems. By 12 months, the two groups showed significant contrasts, with the differences centered on T cell development. The breast-fed group had a much larger percentage of experienced memory T cells, which are better equipped to secrete immune defense chemicals called cytokines, including TH17 and interferon-producing cells.

“This is the first time researchers have shown that these immunologic characteristics may be imprinted in the first new months of life,” said Amir Ardeshir, the study’s first author. “Our study suggests that the gut microbiota present in early life may leave a durable imprint on the shape and capacity of the immune system, a programming of the system, if you will.”

Further investigation may have identified chemicals that drive these differences. For example, arachidonic acid, which stimulates the production of TH17 cells and is found in macaque breast milk, was tightly linked to TH17 cell development. Previous studies have suggested it can influence T cell development. The researchers caution that these chemicals must be tested in larger studies to understand their effects.

While this research provides a fascinating window into immune cell development in macaques, Hartigan-O’Connor cautions that it doesn’t prove the same mechanisms exist in people. The lab is planning similar studies in humans to test that hypothesis. In addition, this study does not prove a link between breastfeeding and better health.

“There’s a developmental shape to the immune system that we don’t often consider,” Hartigan-O’Connor said. “It’s dramatic how that came out in this study. There’s a lot of variability in how both people and monkeys handle infections, in their tendency to develop autoimmune disease, and in how they respond to vaccines. This work is a good first step towards explaining those differences.”

Other authors include Nicole Narayan, Gema Mendez-Lagares, Ding Lu, Koen Van Rompay, Marcus Rauch, Susan V. Lynch and Yong Huang.

This research was supported by grants from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation under a Grand Challenges Exploration award and by Office of the Director of NIH.

— UC Davis News

Comments

comments

.

News

 
Yolo makes hydrogen connection

By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
N. Korea uses racial slur against Obama over hack

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
AirAsia plane with 162 aboard missing in Indonesia

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Sacramento man convicted for 2011 bar shooting

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

Drugs, stolen car lead to women’s arrests

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

 
NYC officer mourned at funeral as tensions linger

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Supplies collected for victims of abuse

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Holiday hours continue at The Enterprise

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Reserve tickets soon for Chamber’s Installation Gala

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
UC Davis debate team wins national championship

By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Covell Gardens hosts New Year’s Eve dance

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Portuguese breakfast set for Jan. 25

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Pedal around Davis on weekly bike ride

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
USA Weekend calls it quits

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Nominate teens for Golden Heart awards

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Sweet success: Cancer Center helps young patient celebrate end of treatment

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

At the Pond: It all started with kayaking on Putah Creek

By Jean Jackman | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Find the first cabbage white butterfly, and win a pitcher

By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Does pre-eclampsia raise autism risk?

By Phyllis Brown | From Page: A6

 
Long will talk about value of hedgerows for adjacent farms

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
It’s a wonderful life — and a wonderful state

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8 | Gallery

College sees benefits in loan guarantees

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Tickets for New Year’s Eve party going fast

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12

.

Forum

It was a busy, black-eye year for disease control

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
 
Say thanks to the caregivers

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

Bombing is not the answer

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

 
Just Us in Davis: Despair and hope for the new year

By Jonathan London | From Page: A10

Commission’s list needs vetting

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Rifkin’s statement is offensive

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Cuba policy changes highlight a momentous opportunity

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
Writer’s arguments fall flat

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A11

.

Sports

Sacramento survives Knicks in OT

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Kings cruise past Sharks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Lady Blue Devils top Tigers to reach Ram Jam title game

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
DHS boys get good film in tournament loss

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Sports briefs: Republic FC to host camp series

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

 
College bowl roundup: Sun Bowl goes to the Sun Devils

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

.

Features

.

Arts

.

Business

Rob White: Davis tech community is growing

By Rob White | From Page: A9

 
Yolo County real estate sales

By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A9

First Northern adds Peyret to agribusiness loan team

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
Kaiser’s trauma center in Vacaville earns verification

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

.

Obituaries

Ruth Allen Barr

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Charles ‘Bud’ Meyer

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, December 28, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B8