[Literature library] The influence of FUT-2 and FUT-3 polymorphisms on acute respiratory infections

3 min read /
General Nutrition Obstetrics / Gynaecology Paediatrics

Acute respiratory infections (ARIs) are one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in young children. Data (n = 240) from the Microbiota and Health Study in Bangladesh was analyzed to investigate the relationship between FUT-2/3 determining secretor and Lewis status and ARI occurrence in breastfed infants. Maternal secretor and Lewis status are used as a proxy for human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) in human milk, as FUT-2/3 polymorphisms shape fucosylated HMOs composition.

Results showed that:

  • 24 mothers (11.4%) and 17 infants (8.2%) were identified as non-secretors i.e. FUT2-negative
  • 13 mothers (6.2%) and 8 infants (3.8%) were identified as Lewis-negative i.e. FUT3-negative
  • Infants of secretor-positive mothers had a lower incidence of ARIs during the first 6 months of life*, with an incidence rate ratio of 0.66 (95% confidence interval. 0.47 to 0.94; p = 0.020)
  • Maternal Lewis status was not linked to ARI occurrence during the first 6 months of life
  • Maternal secretor and Lewis status showed no significant association with ARI occurrence in infants during later time points
  • Maternal secretor and Lewis status showed no significant association with nasopharyngeal microbiome composition


This study further supported that fucosylated HMOs were associated with lower risk of respiratory infections in exclusively or predominantly breastfed infants.


*Compared to that of infants of non-secretor mothers

Link to the abstract:



Binia A et al. The Influence of FUT2 and FUT3 polymorphisms and nasopharyngeal microbiome on respiratory infections in breastfed Bangladeshi infants from the Microbiota and Health Study. mSphere. 2021;6(6):e0068621.

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