Immunology and Breastfeeding

2022 University Of Western Australia FLRF

Photo © The University of Western Australia

The world’s first chair in Human Lactology (now known as Immunology and Breastfeeding) was established at The University of Western Australia (UWA) with an endowment from FLRF in 2015.

That chair has since expanded into an entire research center: the Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation Centre for Immunology and Breastfeeding (LRF CIBF), directed by Professor Valérie Verhasselt. The center is anchored in the UWA School of Medicine and located at the Telethon Kids Institute.

Researchers at the LRF CIBF are exploring the ways breastmilk instructs an infant’s immune development and guides long-term immune health. The LRF CIBF is seeking to establish the matches and, importantly, the possible mismatches, between what the infant needs for healthy development and the nutrition that they are provided.

The LRF CIBF team is also focused on questions especially relevant for children in low resource settings such as revealing what is needed to make breastmilk more likely to prevent conditions such as malaria, growth failure or allergy.

The center’s research findings have the potential to generate significant global impact by generating an evidence base on the links between breastmilk as a preventative measure against allergies, infectious and metabolic diseases to benefit the long-term health of women and children worldwide.

This will ultimately contribute to SDGs 2, 3 and 4:

FLRF donated AUD 11.5 million to establish the LRF CIBF – read the press release.

van den Elsen L, Kollmann T, Verhasselt V. Microbial antigen in human milk: a natural vaccine?. Mucosal Immunology. 2022;27:1–2. DOI: 10.1038/s41385-022-00561-4

Macchiaverni P, Gehring U, Rekima A, Wijga A, Verhasselt V. House Dust Mite Exposure through Human Milk and Dust: What Matters for Child Allergy Risk?. Nutrients. 2022;14(10):2095. DOI: 10.3390/nu14102095

Gamirova A, Berbenyuk A, Levina D, Peshko D, Simpson MR, Azad MB, et al. Food Proteins in Human Breast Milk and Probability of IgE-Mediated Allergic Reaction in Children During Breastfeeding: A Systematic Review. The journal of allergy and clinical immunology In practice. 2022;10(5):1312-24 e8.

Vandenplas Y, Meyer R, Chouraqui JP, Dupont C, Fiocchi A, Salvatore S, et al. The role of milk feeds and other dietary supplementary interventions in preventing allergic disease in infants: Fact or fiction? Clin Nutr. 2021;40(2):358-71.

van den Elsen LWJ, Verhasselt V. Human Milk Drives the Intimate Interplay Between Gut Immunity and Adipose Tissue for Healthy Growth. Frontiers in immunology. 2021;12:645415.

Shamji MH, Valenta R, Jardetzky T, Verhasselt V, Durham SR, Wurtzen PA, et al. The role of allergen-specific IgE, IgG and IgA in allergic disease. Allergy. 2021.

Rodriguez JM, Fernandez L, Verhasselt V. The GutBreast Axis: Programming Health for Life. Nutrients. 2021;13(2).

Parkin K, Christophersen CT, Verhasselt V, Cooper MN, Martino D. Risk Factors for Gut Dysbiosis in Early Life. Microorganisms. 2021;9(10).

Macchiaverni P, Rekima A, van den Elsen L, Renz H, Verhasselt V. Allergen shedding in human milk: Could it be key for immune system education and allergy prevention? The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology. 2021;148(3):679-88.

Halken S, Muraro A, de Silva D, Khaleva E, Angier E, Arasi S, et al. EAACI guideline: Preventing the development of food allergy in infants and young children (2020 update). Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2021.

Verhasselt V, Genuneit J, Metcalfe JR, Tulic MK, Rekima A, Palmer DJ, et al. Ovalbumin in breastmilk is associated with a decreased risk of IgE-mediated egg allergy in children. Allergy. 2020;75(6):1463-6.

van den Elsen LWJ, Verhasselt V, Egwang T. Malaria Antigen Shedding in the Breast Milk of Mothers From a Region With Endemic Malaria. JAMA Pediatr. 2020.

Rekima A, Bonnart C, Macchiaverni P, Metcalfe J, Tulic MK, Halloin N, et al. A role for early oral exposure to house dust mite allergens through breast milk in IgE-mediated food allergy susceptibility. The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology. 2020.

Macchiaverni P, Gehring U, Rekima A, Wijga AH, Verhasselt V. House Dust Mites: Does a Clean Mattress Mean Der p 1-free Breastmilk? Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2020.

de Silva D, Halken S, Singh C, Antonella M, Angier E, Arasi S, et al. Preventing food allergy in infancy and childhood: systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2020.

Adel-Patient K, Bernard H, Fenaille F, Hazebrouck S, Junot C, Verhasselt V. Prevention of Allergy to a Major Cow's Milk Allergen by Breastfeeding in Mice Depends on Maternal Immune Status and Oral Exposure During Lactation. Frontiers in immunology. 2020;11:1545.

van den Elsen LWJ, Garssen J, Burcelin R, Verhasselt V. Shaping the Gut Microbiota by Breastfeeding: The Gateway to Allergy Prevention? Front Pediatr. 2019;7:47.

Blyuss O, Cheung KY, Chen J, Parr C, Petrou L, Komarova A, et al. Statistical Approaches in the Studies Assessing Associations between Human Milk Immune Composition and Allergic Diseases: A Scoping Review. Nutrients. 2019;11(10).

Renz H, Adkins BD, Bartfeld S, Blumberg RS, Farber DL, Garssen J, et al. The neonatal window of opportunity-early priming for life. The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology. 2018;141(4):1212-4.

Marchant A, Sadarangani M, Garand M, Dauby N, Verhasselt V, Pereira L, et al. Maternal immunisation: collaborating with mother nature. The Lancet Infectious diseases. 2017.

Baiz N, Macchiaverni P, Tulic MK, Rekima A, Annesi-Maesano I, Verhasselt V, et al. Early oral exposure to house dust mite allergen through breast milk: A potential risk factor for allergic sensitization and respiratory allergies in children. The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology. 2017;139(1):369-72 e10.

Turfkruyer M, Verhasselt V. Response to "Disparity between vitamin A-induced Th1-dependent oral tolerance in newborn mice and vitamin A-induced atopic sensitization in Guinean girls". Mucosal immunology. 2016.

Turfkruyer M, Rekima A, Macchiaverni P, Le Bourhis L, Muncan V, van den Brink GR, et al. Oral tolerance is inefficient in neonatal mice due to a physiological vitamin A deficiency. Mucosal immunology. 2016;9(2):479-91.

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