Breastfeeding is the first contact of the newborn with substances from the environment and nutrients out of the womb. Breast milk is a highly complex mixture, containing nutritional compounds and an array of immunological components. In breastfeeding, the mother provides immunitary modulators that can alter the newborn's response to specific antigens the mother is being exposed to. Such condition has been experimentally demonstrated to antigenic epitopes present in the environment related to respiratory ailments such as allergic asthma, a condition that affects several children worldwide. This acquired process is known as antigenic tolerance and is capable of diminishing the gravity of allergic processes when of later exposures in life. It is yet to be known if a mother with high BMI (body mass index) has any hindering on the tolerance transmission during breastfeeding period, but it is important to stress that pregnancy overweight is a factor more present nowadays, and that such mothers have a different nutritional content in their milk, with high differentiation of cytokines, chemokines and nutrients when compared with normolipidic mothers. Considering that the potential immunitary alterations started by breastfeeding on the newborn related to the mother's characteristics are unknown, as well as related to her nutritional state, as well as the difficulty of experimental comprobation on clinical studies due to the lack of sample homogeneity proves the relevance of this study. An animal model, essential to this purpose for its good reproductive capacity and analytical homogeneity, will be used to evaluate through a series of methods the incidence of asthma in Mus musculus infants either born from or breastfed by obese mothers exposed to ovalbumin during lactation. Later, the litter will be exposed to, sensitized and defied by the same substance, and the presence of asthma indicators will be evaluated by quantitative and qualitative analysis of leukocytes and cytokines on blood samples, bone marrow, and lungs. The mother's milk will also be screened to determine the possible presence immunitary modulators and ovalbumin antigen content. The data will be compared to the responses of litter's breastfed by a mother with normal BMI. We expect that the results will help to understand the influence of maternal characteristics on the infants' immune response, obtain a complete characterization for potential future immunitary assays, as well as the understanding of the particularities of pregnancy overweight, fundamental for clinical practice.
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