Intestinal Absorption of Immunoglobulins by Newborn Infants

Intestinal absorption in newborn infants of immunoglobulins present in colostrum was studied by measuring the concentrations of immunoglobulins IgA, IgG, and IgM in cord blood and following the changes in the serum of the infant on the 5th day after birth. In infants who did not receive colostrum, a marked fall in IgG levels was observed on the 5th day after birth as compared to levels at birth. The concentrations of IgA and IgM showed marginal changes. In contrast, colostrumfed infants showed significant increases in the concentration of IgG. Levels of all 3 immunoglobulins on the 5th day were significantly higher in the serum of colostrumfed infants as compared to those who did not receive colostrum. It is suggested that immunoglobulins present in colostrum are to some extent absorbed from the intestinal tract of newborn infants, and this may have some physiological significance in the resistance to infection during the early neonatal period.

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