Extract: The morphology and certain functions of human colostral cells were studied in vitro. Colostrum from 60 human females contained neutrophils, small lymphocytes, macrophages and occasional epithelial cells. The median concentration of neutrophils in colostrum from breast-feeding mothers was 150/mm3 as compared to 7000/mm3 in colostrum from those who did not breast feed.
The median concentration of lymphocytes in human colostrum was 205/mm3. Eighty to ninety percent of colostral lymphocytes in culture underwent blastoid transformation after exposure to phytohemagglutinin. Ten to twenty-five percent of cultured lymphocytes were transformed after the addition of specific antigens to the cultures. The synthesis of DNA by blast forms was demonstrated by radioautographic studies with H3-thymidine.
The median concentration of macrophages in colostrum was 2100/mm3. Colostral corpuscles (corpuscles of DONNÉ) were classed with these cells since they displayed identical features. These included glass-adhesive properties, ameboid activity, phagocytosis and presence of abundant lysosomes.
Two types of lymphocyte-macrophage interactions were found in fresh and cultured colostrum. These findings suggested that the interactions occurred in vivo as well as in vitro.
Speculation: These observations indicate that immunologically active cells are normal constituents of human colostrum. The possibility is advanced that these cells may influence the host response of the neonatal recipient.
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Smith, C., Goldman, A. The Cells of Human Colostrum. I. In Vitro Studies of Morphology and Functions. Pediatr Res 2, 103–109 (1968). https://doi.org/10.1203/00006450-196803000-00005
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