Melatonin Action on the Activity of Phagocytes from the Colostrum of Obese Women

Type Article

Journal Article


T. C. Morais; A. C. Honorio-França; M. Fujimori; O. B. de Quental; R. S. Pessoa; E. L. França; L. C. de Abreu

Year of publication



Medicina (Kaunas)







BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Breastfeeding promotion is an important public health strategy for counter-balancing the negative effects of maternal overweight and obesity. Colostrum contains melatonin, which can attenuate the impacts of excessive maternal weight and boost the infant's immune system. Therefore, the objective of this study was to analyze the effects of melatonin on mononuclear (MN) phagocytes from the colostrum of women with pre-gestational obesity. Materials and Methods: Colostrum samples were collected postpartum from 100 women at a public hospital in São Paulo, Brazil. The donors were divided into two groups: the control group and the high body mass index (BMI) group. Melatonin levels in the colostrum were determined by an ELISA Kit, and the functional activity of MN cells was assessed using the phagocytosis assay by flow cytometry, and reactive oxygen species (ROS), intracellular calcium, and apoptosis were assessed by fluorimetry using a microplate reader. RESULTS: The colostrum of mothers with pre-gestational high BMI exhibited higher melatonin levels (p < 0.05) and lower phagocytosis (p < 0.05) and ROS release (p 0.05). Intracellular calcium release and apoptosis were also higher in the high BMI group (p < 0.05). Melatonin levels likely increased the phagocytosis rate and reduced intracellular calcium release and the apoptosis index (p < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that melatonin is a possible mechanism for maternal-infant protection against obesity and restores the functional activity of colostrum phagocytes in obese mothers.