Nutrients, vol.13, no.8, 2021 (SCI-Expanded)
Background: Osteopontin (OPN) is a glycosylated phosphoprotein found in human tissues and body fluids. OPN in breast milk is thought to play a major role in growth and immune system development in early infancy. Here, we investigated maternal factors that may affect concentrations of OPN in breast milk, and the possible associated consequences for the health of neonates. Methods: General characteristics, health status, dietary patterns, and anthropometric measurements of 85 mothers and their babies were recorded antenatally and during postnatal follow-up. Results: The mean concentration of OPN in breast milk was 137.1 +/- 56.8 mg/L. Maternal factors including smoking, BMI, birth route, pregnancy weight gain, and energy intake during lactation were associated with OPN levels (p < 0.05). Significant correlations were determined between body weight, length, and head circumference, respectively, and OPN levels after one (r = 0.442, p = < 0.001; r = -0.284, p = < 0.001; r = -0.392, p = < 0.001) and three months (r = 0.501, p = < 0.001; r = -0.450, p = < 0.001; r = -0.498, p = < 0.001) of lactation. A negative relation between fever-related infant hospitalizations from 0-3 months and breast milk OPN levels (r = -0.599, p < 0.001) was identified. Conclusions: OPN concentrations in breast milk differ depending on maternal factors, and these differences can affect the growth and immune system functions of infants. OPN supplementation in infant formula feed may have benefits and should be further investigated.