Longitudinal Study of Cytokine Expression, Lipid Profile and Neuronal Growth Factors in Human Breast Milk from Term and Preterm Deliveries.
Children born to mothers with preeclampsia have consistently been suggested to be at risk for cognitive and behavioral disorders in later life. Breastfeeding is said to be associated with better neurodevelopment outcomes. Our earlier studies indicated higher levels of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in human milk in women with preeclampsia. DHA is known to regulate the expression of neurotrophins and together they play a vital role in neurodevelopment and cognitive performance. The present study examines the levels of maternal plasma and milk neurotrophins [(nerve growth factor (NGF) and brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)] in women with preeclampsia and compares them with normotensive women who served as controls. Singleton pregnant women diagnosed with preeclampsia (n=72) and controls (n=102) were recruited for this study from Bharati Hospital, Pune. Plasma and milk samples were analyzed for NGF and BDNF levels using the Emax Immuno Assay System using promega kits. Maternal plasma NGF and BDNF levels were lower (p<0.01 for both) in women with preeclampsia as compared to the control women. Milk NGF levels were similar while milk BDNF levels were higher (p<0.05) in the preeclampsia group as compared to controls. Plasma NGF levels were positively correlated with milk NGF levels in the control group. Our results indicate the differential regulation of milk NGF and BDNF levels in women with preeclampsia. The present study suggests a role for both NGF and BDNF in human milk for postnatal brain development. Further studies need to examine the associations of DHA and BDNF in human milk with cognition at later ages.