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    Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and nerve growth factor (NGF) play a critical role in neurodevelopment, where breast milk is a significant dietary source. The impact of previous COVID-19 infection and mastitis on the concentration of BDNF and NGF in human milk was investigated. Concentrations of BDNF and NGF were measured via ELISA in human milk samples collected from 12 mothers with a confirmed COVID-19 PCR, 13 mothers with viral symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, and 22 unexposed mothers (pre-pandemic Ctl-2018). These neurotrophins were also determined in 12 mothers with previous mastitis and 18 mothers without mastitis. The NGF concentration in human milk was lower in the COVID-19 PCR and viral symptoms groups than in the unexposed group, but BDNF did not differ significantly. Within the COVID-19 group, BDNF was higher in mothers who reported headaches or loss of smell/taste when compared with mothers without the respective symptom. BDNF was lower in mothers with mastitis than in mothers without mastitis. Previous COVID-19 and mastitis infections changed differently the secretion of NGF and BDNF in human milk. Whether the changes in NGF and BDNF levels in milk from mothers with infection influence their infant's development remains to be investigated.


    Veronique Demers-Mathieu, Dustin J Hines, Rochelle M Hines, Sirima Lavangnananda, Shawn Fels, Elena Medo. Influence of Previous COVID-19 and Mastitis Infections on the Secretion of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor and Nerve Growth Factor in Human Milk. International journal of molecular sciences. 2021 Apr 08;22(8)

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    PMID: 33917718

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