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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2008, Article ID 298760, 7 pages
Review Article

Inflammatory Breast Diseases during Lactation: Health Effects on the Newborn—A Literature Review

1Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University Hospital Ulm, Prittwitzstraße 43, 89075 Ulm, Germany
2Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, St. Joseph Hospital, University Medicine Berlin - Charité, 12203 Berlin, Germany
3Department of Psychoneuroimmunology, University Medicine Berlin - Charité, 13353 Berlin, Germany
4Department of Medicine, Brain Body Institute, McMaster University Hamilton, ON, Canada L8S 4L8

Received 21 January 2008; Accepted 31 March 2008

Academic Editor: Fulvio D'Acquisto

Copyright © 2008 Achim Wöckel et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Breastfeeding-associated inflammatory breast diseases appear especially during the first twelve weeks postpartum and are the most common reason for early cessation of breastfeeding. It also becomes increasingly evident that these inflammatory mammary diseases are triggered or perpetuated in a large part by psychosocial stress. Immunological processes taking place during this cascade in the mammary gland and consequences for the breastfeed newborn are mostly yet unknown. This review summarizes insights from studies on modulation of cytokine levels in breast milk during inflammatory processes like milk stasis and mastitis systematically. It also gives an overview on possible pathological effects, which these cytokine changes in the breast milk might have on the newborn.