Lack of relationship between history of either cows milk or breast feeding during the first 3 months of life and the development of type I diabetes mellitus
Recent epidemiologic and serologic data in humans suggest a relation between the use of cow's milk in early life and a diabetogenic triggering effect of antibodies to B-lactoglobulin. Moreover, several reports have shown that antibodies against bovine serum albumin (BSA) directed against a 17-amino-acid BSA peptide (ABBOS), could be detected in patients with IDDM. These studies have suggested that ingestion of cow's milk is a possible environmental triggering agent. Exclusive breast-feeding in the first months of life on the contrary could decrease the risk of diabetes in children. No data however are available on the degree of auto-immune aggression and beta-cell secretory capability in new-onset Type I diabetes of older age groups (15-40 yr) who were exclusively fed with breast-milk or cow's milk during the first 3 months of Life. During the last three years we have been able to collect reliable amnestic data of 54 new-onset Type I diabetic patients and to compare the level of auto-immune aggression (ICA,IAA) and C-peptide concentrations in the fasting state and after stimulation with 1 mg glucagon i.v. Twenty-nine patients received only breast-feeding (B-group) and 25 only cow's milk (C-group) during the first 3 months of Life. The mean age of onset of IDDM was not related to the type of feeding during infancy. Thus, those who were breast-fed were diagnosed to have IDDM at a similar age as those IDDM patients who were formula fed (28.5, 12-39 yr in B vs 26.5, 13-40 yr in C). Basal levels of C-peptide were identical in both groups before the start of insulin treatment (0.39,0.02-0.73 pmol/ml in B vs 0.37,0.1-0.72 pmol/ml in C). After glucagon-stimulation a significant rise (p<0.001 in B, p<0.002 in C) existed in both groups but post-glucagon C-peptide levels were not different (0.56,0.02-1.34 pmol/ml in B vs 0.51,0.1-1.3 pmol/ml in C). In the B-group 38% did not have a significant rise of ICA vs 20% in the C-group (NS). The median of ICA's (JDF units) was not different between both groups (30,0-1600, in B vs 50,0-6400, in C; NS). Insulin auto-antibodies (IAA) were also similar in both groups (0.55% binding, 0.1-30.1 in B vs 0.4% binding, 0.1-27.3 in C-group; NS). In the age group 15-40 yr no significant difference can be found between new-onset Type I diabetics fed in the first 3 months of life either with breast-milk or cow's milk as the only nutrition source.
Source (journal)
Diabetes, nutrition and metabolism. - Milano
Milano : 1994
7:4(1994), p. 219-222
Research group
Publication type
Publications with a UAntwerp address
External links
Web of Science
Creation 19.07.2012
Last edited 06.05.2017
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