Breastmilk-Saliva Interactions Boost Innate Immunity by Regulating the Oral Microbiome in Early Infancy
Human milk and saliva from newborn infants were analyzed for their content of lactoperoxidase and thiocyanate. The activity of lactoperoxidase in infant saliva was variable but generally higher than that found in calf saliva. In contrast, the activity in human colostrum was low ( approximately 5%) compared with that found in cow's milk. The enzyme was resistant to gastric juice. Thiocyanate was demonstrated in infant saliva in concentrations about one-third of that in adult saliva. The amounts of lactoperoxidase and thiocyanate in infant saliva are quite sufficient to inhibit bacterial growth in in vitro systems. The importance of this system in vivo has not yet been demonstrated. The availability of this system to both newborn calves and humans (in calves provided largely by colostrum and in human babies by saliva) might be indirect evidence of its importance.