We analyzed IL-18 levels of human milk. Colostrum contained significantly higher levels of IL-18 compared with early milk and mature milk. By stepwise multiple linear regression analysis, preterm delivery and pregnancy complications of mothers significantly correlated with high levels of IL-18 in human milk (p = 0.0007 and 0.0018, respectively). There was a significant correlation between the levels of IL-18 and soluble Fas ligand in colostrum (p = 0.0003). IL-18 was detected in actively secreting epithelial cells in lactating mammary gland by immunohistochemical staining. These results suggest that IL-18 in colostrum plays an important role in host defense of high-risk neonates.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health