Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Phagocytosis and killing of bacteria and yeast by human milk cells after opsonisation in aqueous phase of milk.

Br Med J 1978; 1 doi: (Published 03 June 1978) Cite this as: Br Med J 1978;1:1443
  1. J E Robinson,
  2. B A Harvey,
  3. J F Soothill


    Macrophages and neutrophils from human milk phagocytose and kill Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli in vitro after opsonisation by the aqueous phase of milk as effectively as blood leucocytes in serum. They also phagocytose Candida albicans. The overgrowth of E coli resulting from the addition of iron to cultures of the organism in the aqueous phase of milk is not influenced by the presence of cells. We conclude that the phagocytosis and killing of bacteria by milk cells may contribute to the lower incidence of infection among breast-fed than artificially fed babies.