Breast-feeding is associated with a reduced frequency of acute otitis media and high serum antibody levels against NTHi and outer membrane protein vaccine antigen candidate P6.Pediatr Res 2009; 66(5):565-70PR
Nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) causes acute otitis media (AOM) in infants. Breast-feeding protects against AOM and/or nasopharyngeal (NP) colonization; however, the mechanism of protection is incompletely understood. Children with AOM and healthy children were studied according to feeding status: breastfed,breast/formula fed, or formula fed. Cumulative episodes of AOM, ELISA titers of serum IgG antibodies to whole-cell NTHi and vaccine candidate outer membrane protein P6, bactericidal titers of serum and NP colonization by NTHi were assessed. A lower incidence of AOM was found in breast- versus formula-fed children. Levels of specific serum IgG antibody to NTHi and P6 were highest in breast-fed, intermediate in breast/formula fed, and lowest in formula-fed infants. Serum IgG antibody to P6 correlated with bactericidal activity against NTHi. Among children with AOM, the prevalence of NTHi in the NP was lower in breast- versus nonbreast-fed infants. We conclude that breast-feeding shows an association with higher levels of antibodies to NTHi and P6, suggesting that breast-feeding modulates the serum immune response to NTHi and P6. Higher serum IgG might facilitate protection against AOM and NP colonization in breast-fed children.