The ingredient called pancreatic secretory trypsin inhibitor, or PSTI, is found at its highest levels in colostrum - the milk produced in the first few days after birth.
The lining of a newborn's gut is particularly vulnerable to damage as it has never been exposed to food or drink. The new study* highlights the importance of breastfeeding in the first few days after the birth.
The researchers found small amounts of PSTI in all the samples of breast milk they tested but it was seven times more concentrated in colostrum samples. The ingredient was not found in formula milk.
The researchers examined the effects of PSTI on human intestinal cells in the lab. When they inflicted damage to the cells they found that PSTI stimulated the cells to move across the damaged area forming a natural protective 'plaster'. They also found that PSTI could prevent further damage by stopping the cells of the intestine from self-destructing. Additional research suggests that PSTI could reduce damage by 75 per cent.
PSTI is a molecule which is normally found in the pancreas where it protects the organ from being damaged by the digestive enzymes it produces. Research suggests that it plays a similar protective role in the gut.
The team at Queen Mary have also found that PSTI is produced in the breast but until now they did not know exactly why.
Professor Ray Playford of Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, part of Queen Mary, University of London led the study.
He said: "We know that breast milk is made up of a host of different ingredients and we also know that there are a number of health benefits for babies who are breast-fed.
"This study is important because it shows that a component of breast milk protects and repairs the babies delicate intestines in readiness for the onslaught of all the food and drink that are to come.
"It reinforces the benefits of breast feeding, especially in the first few days after birth."
*Pancreatic secretory trypsin inhibitor us a major motogenic and protective factor in human breast milk, Marchbank et al, Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol 296: G697-G703, 2009
Kerry Noble | EurekAlert!
3D images of cancer cells in the body: Medical physicists from Halle present new method
16.05.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
Better equipped in the fight against lung cancer
16.05.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.
The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...
Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.
Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...
A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.
Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
18.05.2018 | Information Technology
18.05.2018 | Information Technology