The immune system of the newborn is naïve and quantitatively as well as qualitatively different from that of an adult. Human milk has evolved to protect the infant during this high-risk period. This milk contains compounds, including complex oligosaccharides (HMOs) that stimulate intestinal development, protect the infant from pathogenic infection, promote immune tolerance, and facilitate the establishment of the gut microbiota. Oligosaccharides are important with respect to the immune response. The bioactivity of oligosaccharides is highly dependent on the specific glycan structures that they contain. This chapter reviews immunity, the role of glycans in the immune response, and the evidence for HMOs as modulators of the infant's gastrointestinal and systemic immune systems.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Title of host publication||Prebiotics and Probiotics in Human Milk|
|Subtitle of host publication||Origins and Functions of Milk-Borne Oligosaccharides and Bacteria|
|Number of pages||26|
|State||Published - 2017|
- Human milk
ASJC Scopus subject areas