Relationships of Feeding and Mother's Own Milk with Fecal Calprotectin Levels in Preterm Infants

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Objective: To describe longitudinal effects of feeding volume and type of milk on fecal calprotectin (f-CP) in very low–birth weight (VLBW) infants.

Study Design: Prospective data were collected across Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) admission for 6 weeks or until discharge in 75 VLBW neonates. The mean gestational age on entry into the study was 29 weeks.

Results: Seventy-four (99%) mothers provided expressed milk in varying amounts. Twenty-three mothers (31%) provided exclusive mother's own milk (MOM) throughout. Preterm infant formula (PIF) and pasteurized donor milk were added to feedings of remaining infants. Pooled MOM was analyzed weekly for levels of a panel of cytokines, chemokines, and growth factors, and secretory Immunoglobulin A (sIgA) so that the exact amount of exposure to the gut of these milk bioactives could be estimated. f-CP levels ranged from 160 to 350 μg/g stool. Total feeding volume was positively associated with f-CP, controlling for infant weight, and f-CP levels rose across time. Exclusive MOM feedings for the entire measurement period were associated with rising levels of f-CP, but mixed feedings (MOM with added PIF or pasteurized donor milk (PDM) did not show this increase over time.

Conclusion: The presence of f-CP may represent a response to milk volumes and MOM, which represents normal development rather than always implicating pathological inflammation in the VLBW infant.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Breastfeeding Medicine, v. 11, issue 4, p. 207-212