Background Maternal stress on neonatal outcomes of infants admitted to the NICU is incompletely understood. We previously demonstrated breast milk derived cytokines remain biologically active in the neonatal intestine. We hypothesized that the need for neonatal surgical intervention would be stimulus leading to maternal cytokine production thus affecting neonatal outcome. Methods Discarded expressed breast milk (EBM) in the first 3 weeks following delivery was analyzed for IL-23 and IL-10 by ELISA. Variables analyzed included: the need for a pediatric surgical procedure, the need for cardiac surgical procedure, no surgical interventions, and survival. All values are expressed as mean ± SEM. Statistical analysis utilized Kruskal and Mann–Whitney test. Results EBM from mothers whose infants required any surgical procedure (n = 19) revealed significant elevation in IL-10 but not IL-23 compared to nonsurgical EBM (n = 18). Subdivided by procedure type, there was no difference between those undergoing a cardiac (n = 9) versus pediatric surgical (n = 10) procedure in both IL-10 and IL-23. Mothers whose infants requiring surgical intervention or whose infants did not survive in the first 3 weeks of life had elevation of IL-10. Conclusion Results suggest maternal stress impacts the cytokine profile of breast milk. Level of evidence Level III.
- Cardiac surgery
- Necrotizing enterocolitis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health