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Breast milk-mediated transfer of antigens induces tolerance and protection from allergic asthma

Antigens transferred to newborn mice via breast milk lead to antigen-specific protection against allergic airway disease, concludes a study conducted by Valérie Verhasselt from the Nice-Sophia Antipolis University in France.
The scientists exposed lactating mice to airborne allergens and observed, whether this procedure would affect asthma development in their pups. Apparently, antigens were efficiently transferred to the pups through the mother's milk and a transfer of was not necessary. Breastfeeding-induced tolerance required the presence of ()- during lactation, regulatory and was dependend on signalling in . Allergic asthma is a chronic disease resulting from a disproportionate reaction of type 2 T helper cells to environmental airborne antigens. The characteristic affliction is airway obstruction in response to allergen exposure. It is assumed that exposure to environmental antigens during infancy is an important factor in the development of asthma.

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