Analysis of gene expression from human breastmilk cells: A comparison between low and high producers, and the influence of anxiety and depression on milk production, gene expression and bacterial production

Heliyon. 2021 Nov 9;7(11):e08335. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2021.e08335. eCollection 2021 Nov.


Background: Breastmilk is considered the gold standard of infant nutrition. Many mothers have difficulty with breastfeeding and over 50% of women stop due to perceived low production.

Aims and methods: Our study compared gene expression in 8 samples of low and high producers of milk. All subjects were administered GAD-7 and PHQ-9 questionnaires. Low-producers were all found to have more depression and anxiety compared to high-producers.

Results: We did not find significant differences between gene expression between low and high milk producers. Only 5 of 8 samples contained a significant number of human cells. We did find differences in the amount of various bacterial populations.

Conclusion: Our results indicate that gene expression in breastmilk is complicated by collection methods. We recommend that even though some women produced less than 600 ml of milk over a 24-hour period of time, due to the nature of the bacteria found in milk they try to breastfeed as much as they can for the health benefits of their infants. the rich bacterial diversity in all patients including the low producers strongly suggests that even women producing lesser quantities of milk confer their children numerous benefits by breastfeeding them.

Keywords: Bacteria in milk; Gene expression; Human milk; Milk production; mRNA.