Microbial analysis of breast milk as a tool to differentiate infectious mastitis and Raynaud's syndrome during lactation

Abstract number: R2540

Collado M.C., Delgado S., Arroyo R., Maldonado A., Rodríguez J.M.

Objectives. Mastitis is an inflammation of the mammary gland that is frequent during the lactation period and that is usually associated with a bacterial infection. Raynaud's phenomenon consists in a vasospasm of peripherical blood vessels and may affect the nipples of breastfeeding mothers. Raynaud's syndrome is often misdiagnosed as infectious mastitis on the solely basis of a painful lactation. In this context, our objective was to elucidate if bacterial analysis of breast milk can be an useful tool to differentiate both conditions.

Methods. Samples of breast milk were collected from 5 women suffering infectious mastitis and from 5 showing symptoms of Raynaud's syndrome. The microbial composition of the samples was analysed by classical plate count techniques and, also, by molecular techniques as PCR-DGGE and real time quantitative PCR (RTi-Q-PCR).

Results. Using culture-based methods, significant differences were observed between the samples of mastitis-suffering women and those provided by women with Raynaud' phenomenon. Globally, staphylococci and streptococci were the predominant bacterial groups in mastitic milk while no bacteria could be detected after the plating and incubation of Raynaud' samples. The assessment of the bacterial composition of breast milk by PCR-DGGE also revealed significant differences between mastitic and Raynaud samples. In general, more complex profiles were observed in women with infectious mastitis where bands corresponding to staphylococcal and streptococcal species were often present. Interestingly, the intensity of the Staphylococcus aureus band was higher in Raynaud' samples. RTi-Q-PCR with different general or genus-specific primer couples confirmed the existence of significant differences in the bacterial composition of milk in both conditions. As an example, the milk of mastitis-suffering women showed higher levels of total bacteria (p < 0.05) than those from women with Raynaud' syndrome women.

Conclusions. Our results indicate that the two conditions studied (infectious mastitis/Raynaud' phenomenon) have a different impact on the microbial composition of breast milk. Bacteriological analysis of milk can be an useful tool in the differential diagnosis between infectious mastitis and Raynaud's phenomenon. The recognition of the exact condition responsible for breast pain will allow a more appropiate treatment, avoiding the cost and side effects of unnecessary antibiotherapy when Raynaud's phenomenon is diagnosed.

Session Details

Date: 19/04/2008
Time: 00:00-00:00
Session name: 18th European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Presentation type:
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