Effects of cooling and freezing storage on the stability of bioactive factors in human colostrum

C. Ramírez-Santana, F. J. Pérez-Cano, C. Audí, M. Castell, M. G. Moretones, M. C. López-Sabater, C. Castellote, A. Franch

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54 Scopus citations


Breast milk constitutes the best form of newborn alimentation because of its nutritional and immunological properties. Banked human milk is stored at low temperature, which may produce losses of some bioactive milk components. During lactation, colostrum provides the requirements of the newborn during the first days of life. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of cooling storage at 4°C and freezing storage at -20°C and -80°C on bioactive factors in human colostrum. For this purpose, the content of IgA, growth factors such as epidermal growth factor, transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 and TGF-β2, and some cytokines such as IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, and its type I receptor TNF-RI, were quantified. Some colostrum samples were stored for 6, 12, 24, and 48. h at 4°C and others were frozen at -20°C or -80°C for 6 and 12. mo. We quantified IgA, epidermal growth factor, TGF-β1, and TGF-β2 by indirect ELISA. Concentrations of IL-6, IL-10, and TNF-α cytokines, IL-8 chemokine, and TNF-RI were measured using the BD Cytometric Bead Array (BD Biosciences, Erembodegem, Belgium). Bioactive immunological factors measured in this study were retained in colostrum after cooling storage at 4°C for at least 48. h, with the exception of IL-10. None of the initial bioactive factor concentrations was modified after 6. mo of freezing storage at either -20°C or -80°C. However, freezing storage of colostrum at -20°C and -80°C for 12. mo produced a decrease in the concentrations of IgA, IL-8, and TGF-β1. In summary, colostrum can be stored at 4°C for up to 48. h or at -20°C or -80°C for at least 6. mo without losing its immunological properties. Future studies are necessary to develop quality assurance guidelines for the storage of colostrum in human milk banks, and to focus not only on the microbiological safety but also on the maintenance of the immunological properties of colostrum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2319-2325
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2012
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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