Mouse study suggests natural birth may strengthen the immune system

July 10, 2014

A number of studies suggest that children delivered by Caesarean section have a different intestinal flora than children delivered by natural birth. But it is still unknown why this is the case and what it means for the immune system. University of Copenhagen researchers decided to scrutinise the impact of birth on the development of the immune system in a study of newborn mouse pups.

The study shows that pups delivered by Caesarean section had developed a lower number of cells that strengthen the immune system, says Camilla Hartmann Friis Hansen, Assistant Professor at the Department of Veterinary Disease Biology. The findings have recently been published in Journal of Immunology.

Mother's bacteria may be important

Newborns delivered by natural birth are exposed to more bacteria from the mother than those delivered by Caesarean section. According to a research hypothesis called the hygiene hypothesis, the 's immune system in this way learns to distinguish between its own harmless molecules and foreign molecules. In the experiment, pups delivered by Caesarean section showed a lower number of cells of a type that plays an important role in preventing reactive immune cells from responding to molecules from the body itself, from the diet and from harmless intestinal bacteria. Autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes, Chrohn's disease and allergy are precisely characterised by an over-reaction by the immune system.

The researchers then looked for signs of development of type 1 diabetes in pups delivered by Caesarean section, but found none. The next step is therefore to study whether the pups are predisposed to other and then to test the theses in .

The experiments on mice may give us an idea of what would be interesting to study in more detail in clinical trials, so that in the long term, we may be able to develop methods for strengthening the in newborns who are predisposed to autoimmune diseases, says Professor Axel Kornerup Hansen, Department of Veterinary Disease Biology.

Explore further: Gluten-free diet reduces risk of type 1 diabetes in mice

Related Stories

Gluten-free diet reduces risk of type 1 diabetes in mice

May 8, 2014
New experiments on mice show, that mouse mothers can protect their pups from developing type 1 diabetes by eating a gluten-free diet. According to preliminary studies by reseachers at the University of Copenhagen, the findings ...

Narrower range of helpful bacteria in guts of C-section infants

August 7, 2013
The range of helpful bacteria in the guts of infants delivered by caesarean section, during their first two years of life, is narrower than that of infants delivered vaginally, indicates a small study published online in ...

Cesareans weaken gut microbiota and increase risk of allergies

August 8, 2013
Children who came into the world by Caesarean section are more often affected by allergies than those born in the natural way. The reason for this may be that they have a less diverse gut microbiota, according to a study ...

Caesarean section delivery may double risk of childhood obesity

May 23, 2012
Caesarean section delivery may double the risk of subsequent childhood obesity, finds research published online in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Cesarean section linked to slight increase in future stillbirth and ectopic pregnancy

July 1, 2014
Caesarean section is associated with a slightly increased rate of subsequent stillbirth and ectopic pregnancy, according to a large study of women living in Demark, published in this week in PLOS Medicine. Given the global ...

Recommended for you

Team finds link between backup immune defense, mutation seen in Crohn's disease

July 27, 2017
Genes that regulate a cellular recycling system called autophagy are commonly mutated in Crohn's disease patients, though the link between biological housekeeping and inflammatory bowel disease remained a mystery. Now, researchers ...

Co-infection with two common gut pathogens worsens malnutrition in mice

July 27, 2017
Two gut pathogens commonly found in malnourished children combine to worsen malnutrition and impair growth in laboratory mice, according to new research published in PLOS Pathogens.

Accounting for human immune diversity increases clinical relevance of fundamental immunological research

July 26, 2017
Mouse models have advanced our understanding of immune function and disease in many ways but they have failed to account for the natural diversity in human immune responses. As a result, insights gained in the lab may be ...

Study sheds light on how body may detect early signs of cancer

July 26, 2017
Fresh insights into how cells detect damage to their DNA - a hallmark of cancer - could help explain how the body keeps disease in check.

How genetically engineered viruses develop into effective vaccines

July 26, 2017
Lentiviral vectors are virus particles that can be used as a vaccine to stimulate the immune system to fight against specific pathogens. The vectors are derived from HIV, rendered non-pathogenic, and then engineered to carry ...

Does your child really have a food allergy?

July 24, 2017
(HealthDay)—Many people misunderstand what food allergies are, and even doctors can be confused about how to best diagnose them, suggests a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.