Breastfeeding, lung volumes and alveolar size at school-age.

Dogaru, Cristian; Narayanan, Manjith; Spycher, Ben D; Pescatore, Anina M; Owers-Bradley, John; Beardsmore, Caroline S; Silverman, Michael; Kuehni, Claudia E (2015). Breastfeeding, lung volumes and alveolar size at school-age. BMJ Open Respiratory Research, 2(1), e000081. BMJ Publishing Group: Open Access 10.1136/bmjresp-2015-000081

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BACKGROUND Previous studies found larger lung volumes at school-age in formerly breastfed children, with some studies suggesting an effect modification by maternal asthma. We wanted to explore this further in children who had undergone extensive lung function testing. The current study aimed to assess whether breastfeeding was associated with larger lung volumes and, if so, whether all compartments were affected. We also assessed association of breastfeeding with apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC), which measures freedom of gas diffusion in alveolar-acinar compartments and is a surrogate of alveolar dimensions. Additionally, we assessed whether these effects were modified by maternal asthma. METHODS We analysed data from 111 children and young adults aged 11-21 years, who had participated in detailed lung function testing, including spirometry, plethysmography and measurement of ADC of (3)Helium ((3)He) by MR. Information on breastfeeding came from questionnaires applied in early childhood (age 1-4 years). We determined the association between breastfeeding and these measurements using linear regression, controlling for potential confounders. RESULTS We did not find significant evidence for an association between duration of breastfeeding and lung volumes or alveolar dimensions in the entire sample. In breastfed children of mothers with asthma, we observed larger lung volumes and larger average alveolar size than in non-breastfed children, but the differences did not reach significance levels. CONCLUSIONS Confirmation of effects of breastfeeding on lung volumes would have important implications for public health. Further investigations with larger sample sizes are warranted.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine

Graduate School:

Graduate School for Cellular and Biomedical Sciences (GCB)

UniBE Contributor:

Dogaru, Cristian; Spycher, Ben; Pescatore, Anina and Kühni, Claudia


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services




BMJ Publishing Group: Open Access




Doris Kopp Heim

Date Deposited:

05 Jan 2016 14:46

Last Modified:

09 Sep 2017 05:01

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Paediatric asthma




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