Immune-related microRNAs in breast milk and their relation to regulatory T cells in breastfed children.

Ahlberg E, Martí M, Govindaraj D, Severin E, Duchén K, Jenmalm MC, Tingö L

Pediatr Allergy Immunol 34 (4) e13952 [2023-04-00; online 2023-04-27]

The immunomodulatory capacity of breast milk may partially be mediated by microRNAs (miRNA), small RNA molecules that regulate gene expression on a post-transcriptional level and are hypothesized to be involved in modulation of immunological pathways. Here, we evaluate the expression of immune-related miRNAs in breast milk after pre- and postnatal supplementation with Limosilactobacillus reuteri and omega-3 (ω-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), and the association to infant regulatory T cell (Treg) frequencies. One-hundred and twenty women included in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled allergy intervention trial received L. reuteri and/or ω-3 PUFAs daily from gestational week 20. Using Taqman qPCR, 24 miRNAs were analyzed from breast milk obtained at birth (colostrum) and after 3 months (mature milk) of lactation. The proportion of activated and resting Treg cells were analyzed in infant blood using flow cytometry at 6, 12, and 24 months. Relative expression changed significantly over the lactation period for most of the miRNAs; however, the expression was not significantly influenced by any of the supplements. Colostrum miR-181a-3p correlated with resting Treg cell frequencies at 6 months. Colostrum miR-148a-3p and let-7d-3p correlated with the frequencies of activated Treg cells at 24 months, as did mature milk miR-181a-3p and miR-181c-3p. Maternal supplementation with L. reuteri and ω-3 PUFAs did not significantly affect the relative miRNA expression in breast milk. Interestingly, some of the miRNAs correlate with Treg subpopulations in the breastfed children, supporting the hypothesis that breast milk miRNAs could be important in infant immune regulation. NCT01542970.

Clinical Genomics Linköping [Service]

PubMed 37102392

DOI 10.1111/pai.13952

Crossref 10.1111/pai.13952 NCT01542970

Publications 9.5.0