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June 1983

60 YEARS AGO IN THE AJDC: The Importance of Colostrum to the New-born Infant

Am J Dis Child. 1983;137(6):559. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1983.02140320035006

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Studies in new-born calves had demonstrated that virtually no agglutinins to B. abortus are transmitted from the cow via placental blood. Calves who failed to obtain colostrum died of B. coli septicemia in 80% of cases. Other studies demonstrated that the cow placenta is impermeable to the passage of euglobulin and pseudoglobulin. These investigators studied levels of diphtheria antitoxin in paired maternal and cord sera. The studies were done by the Kellogg method. This involves using Schick testing on guinea-pig skin that is injected locally with varying dilutions of the study serum. There was a close correspondence between maternal and cord blood antitoxin levels. Similar studies by this method done on human colostrum suggested that antitoxin, while sometimes present in colostrum, is consistently lower than that of maternal serum. They conclude that human colostrum plays no role in the development of immunity