High Concentrations of Interleukin 15 in Breast Milk Are Associated with Protection against Postnatal HIV Transmission

Walter, Jan; Ghosh, Mrinal K.; Kuhn, Louise; Semrau, Katherine; Sinkala, Moses; Kankasa, Chipepo; Thea, Donald M.; Aldrovandi, Grace M.
November 2009
Journal of Infectious Diseases;11/15/2009, Vol. 200 Issue 10, p1498
Academic Journal
Given the central role that interleukin 15 (IL-15) plays in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) immunity, we hypothesized that IL-15 in breast milk may protect against postnatal HIV transmission. In a nested case-control study,we compared breast milk IL-15 levels in 22 HIV-infected women who transmitted HIV to their infants to those in 72 nontransmitters. Samples were collected in the first month of life, prior to HIV infection. IL-15 concentrations were associated with a decreased risk of HIV transmission in unadjusted analysis and after adjusting for milk viral load, CD4 cell count, and other cytokines in breast milk. IL-15-mediated immunity may protect against HIV transmission during breast-feeding.


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