Protection of the Neonate by the Innate Immune System of Developing Gut and of Human Milk
Undernourishment in HIV infected individuals exacerbates immunosuppression, acceleration of HIV replication and CD4 + T cell depletion. The production of human milk (lactogenesis) is dependent on factors in the blood therefore deranged blood parameters in HIV patients are expected to reflect in the components of breast milk. Study on effects of HIV infection on nutritional components of breast milk and plasma is scarce. This study assessed the impact which HIV infection might have on the nutritional quality of human breast milk and plasma by determining the levels of biochemical nutritional factors such as albumin, pre-albumin, transferrin and retinol binding in HIV infected lactating mothers (n=20) and HIV-negative lactating mothers (n=30) using immunoplates. The mean plasma level of albumin was significantly reduced in HIV infected lactating mothers (HIM) compared with HIV-negative lactating mothers (control). Breast milk transferrin was significantly increased in HIM compared with the control. It is concluded from this study that hypoalbuminaemia is a common feature in HIV-infected lactating mothers.