A recent study indicated that breast-fed babies tend to have healthier colon than those who fed by formula milk (canned milk). Colonization of good bacteria in infant bowel is critical for the development of their intestinal tract and in the development of immunity.
The results showed differences in bacterial colonization in infants who are fed by canned milk and breast milk, leading to changes in gene expression in infants who are involved in immune system and defense against pathogens.
In the research, the researchers used transcriptome analysis to compare the condition of infants intestines during breastfeeding time. In three months, those baby was breast-fed and some of them are given formula milk. Transcriptome analysis look at fraction of genetic code is transcribed into RNA molecules and measure whether genes can be actively making proteins.
The results showed that breast-fed babies have wider range of microbes in their guts than formula-fed infants, although their immune systems have been developed to overcome them.
"Although we found that microbiome of breast-fed infants were significantly enriched genes associated with virulence, including resistance to antibiotics and toxic compounds, we also found a correlation between the pathogenicity of bacteria and expression of genes associated with immunity and defense mechanisms," said Robert Chapkin, who led the research in Texas A and M University.
"Our findings suggest that breastfeeding promotes variety of benefits to immune system and intestinal microbial populations, as well as maintaining the stability of the gut," he added.
The researchers said the health of every baby can be influenced by the diversity of microbes present in the gut. Microbial colonization is essential in maintaining intestinal health and baby immunity.
The findings are published in BioMed Central's open access journal Genome Biology.
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