Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences

Fecal Secretory Immunoglubulin A Levels in Breast Fed and Formula Fed Infants




We studied the effects of breast milk feeding versus formula feeding during the first four months of life on the development of local gastrointestinal humoral immune response by measuring fecal immunoglobulin A. Secretory immunoglobulin A (SIgA) is the major immunoglobulin of the gastrointestinal tract. So, the IgA value that we obtained may be expressed as SIgA. Twenty-one infants were classified into two groups: breast milk (n=11) and formula fed (n=10). None of the infants experienced any infection during the follow up period. The fecal specimens were analyzed once during the first four months. Radial immune diffusion (RID) technique was used to assay the fecal SIgA. Marked fecal SIgA changes during the first 4 months were detected in the breast milk-fed group. No fecal SIgA was detected in formula fed group. Significant differences were found between the two groups. Moreover, the level of fecal SIgA increased with age in breast milk-fed group. These findings may represent a stimulatory effect of breast milk on gastrointestinal humoral immunologic development. These data suggest an additional advantage of breast milk feeding during early life by the protective role of the earlier and enhanced production of SIgA in the gastrointestinal tract.


Breast milk, Formula, Fecal secretory immunoglobulin A (SIgA)

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