Interleukin-6 in human milk

H. Elizabeth Rudloff, Frank C. Schmalstieg, Kimberly H. Palkowetz, Elisabeth J. Paszkiewicz, Armond S. Goldman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Interleukin-6 (IL-6) in human milk collected during the first 2 days of lactation was investigated by a competitive radioimmunoassay (RIA) and column chromatography. The concentrations of IL-6 in the aqueous phase of fresh human milk were 151 ± 89 pg/ml. The concentrations of IL-6 in milk increased after storage at 4°C and decreased after storage at -20°C (P < 0.01). Column chromatography revealed two molecular weight peaks of IL-6 in human milk, the first ≥100 kDa and the second between 25 and 30 kDa. The 25-30-kDa peak corresponded to known isoforms of human IL-6 and to the elution pattern for 125I-labeled recombinant human IL-6, whereas the higher molecular weight peak may be in keeping with a bound or compartmentalized form of that cytokine. The precise molecular forms of this protein, the compartmentalization of or binding proteins for this cytokine and the in vivo effects of IL-6 in human milk upon the mammary gland or the recipient infant remain to be explored.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-20
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Reproductive Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1993


  • cytokines
  • human milk
  • interleukin-6
  • mammary gland

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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