Breastmilk Sugars Differ in Pregnant Women on Probiotics

Summary: Researchers report human milk oligosaccharides, complex sugars in human breastmilk, may change in pregnant women who are taking probiotics.

Source: University of Rochester.

The complex sugars found in human breastmilk, long believed to be fixed in their composition, may change in women who are taking probiotics, according to new research from the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC).

The finding, published in a research letter in JAMA Pediatrics, upends what scientists thought of human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) — the sugar molecules found exclusively in human breast milk — and could lead to future studies on how the compounds can be potentially influenced by diet and other factors.

Though HMOs are indigestible for a newborn child, they are consumed by certain species in the microbiome and can significantly affect its composition. As a result, scientists have begun focusing on HMOs as a possible reason that infants who consume breastmilk are less likely to get certain viral and bacterial infections, and other severe conditions such as necrotizing enterocolitis, along with chronic diseases like food allergy.

“HMOs were thought to be genetically determined, almost like your blood type,” said Antti Seppo, Ph.D., research associate professor of Pediatric Allergy/Immunology at URMC and the letter’s lead author. “But this data shows you can manipulate the HMOs by external factors.”

pregnant woman
The study analyzed data from 81 pregnant women who were enrolled in a probiotic supplementation study in Finland. The researchers then compared 20 different HMOs in the two groups of women — those taking probiotics and those that were not. NeuroscienceNews.com image is adapted from the University of Rochester news release.

“We thought the interaction between HMOs and the microbiome was a one-way street, with HMOs shaping microbial communities by acting as prebiotics,” said Lars Bode, Ph.D., associate professor of Pediatrics at the University of California San Diego, who co-authored the letter. “Here, we have the first example suggesting that maternal dietary microbes, in the form of probiotics, shape HMO compositions.”

The study analyzed data from 81 pregnant women who were enrolled in a probiotic supplementation study in Finland. The researchers then compared 20 different HMOs in the two groups of women — those taking probiotics and those that were not.

Future studies could potentially look at the effect of specific types of probiotics and food groups on specific HMOs, allowing for customization and clinical application tailored to optimize HMO composition in a disease specific way.

“Because HMOs may be linked to development of food allergies in an infant, manipulating HMO composition favorably could open up a new avenue for prevention of food allergies,” said Kirsi Jarvinen-Seppo, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the Division of Pediatric Allergy/Immunology at URMC and senior co-author on the paper.

[divider]About this neuroscience research article[/divider]

Other co-authors included Anna K. Kukkonen, M.D., Ph.D.; Mikael Kuitunen, M.D., Ph.D.; Erkki Savilahti, M.D., Ph.D.; and Chloe Yonemitsu, B.S.

Source: University of RochesterPublisher: Organized by NeuroscienceNews.com.
Image Source: NeuroscienceNews.com image is adapted from the University of Rochester news release.
Original Research: Open access research for “Association of Maternal Probiotic Supplementation With Human Milk Oligosaccharide Composition” by Antti E. Seppo, PhD; Anna K. Kukkonen, MD, PhD; Mikael Kuitunen, MD, PhD; Erkki Savilahti, MD, PhD; Chloe Yonemitsu, BS; Lars Bode, PhD; and Kirsi. M. Järvinen, MD, PhD in JAMA Pediatrics. Published January 22 2019.
doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.4835
[divider]Cite This NeuroscienceNews.com Article[/divider]

[cbtabs][cbtab title=”MLA”]University of Rochester”Breastmilk Sugars Differ in Pregnant Women on Probiotics.” NeuroscienceNews. NeuroscienceNews, 223 January 2019.
<https://neurosciencenews.com/probiotics-breastmilk-sugars-10624/>.[/cbtab][cbtab title=”APA”]University of Rochester(2019, January 223). Breastmilk Sugars Differ in Pregnant Women on Probiotics. NeuroscienceNews. Retrieved January 223, 2019 from https://neurosciencenews.com/probiotics-breastmilk-sugars-10624/[/cbtab][cbtab title=”Chicago”]University of Rochester”Breastmilk Sugars Differ in Pregnant Women on Probiotics.” https://neurosciencenews.com/probiotics-breastmilk-sugars-10624/ (accessed January 223, 2019).[/cbtab][/cbtabs]


Abstract

Association of Maternal Probiotic Supplementation With Human Milk Oligosaccharide Composition

Human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) are complex glycans and the third-largest solid component in human milk. They are typically nondigestible by humans but are a major substrate for infants’ gut microbiota and affect the maturation of the intestinal mucosal immune system. All HMOs are extensions of lactose generated by the action of a series of glycosyltransferases. Depending on the mother’s Secretor and Lewis blood groups, the fucosyltransferases FUT2 (the Secretor gene) and/or FUT3 (the Lewis gene) are available for the synthesis of HMOs. The resulting heterogeneity implies that some breastfed infants are not being exposed to certain structures, which may affect their microbiome composition and thereby disease risk for illnesses in which gut microbiome plays a role. Infants fed by mothers who lack a Secretor gene and therefore lack a functional FUT2 enzyme and all α-1-2-fucosylated oligosaccharides have delayed development of bifidobacteria-laden microbiota. Also, if these infants are born via cesarean delivery, they have a higher risk to manifest IgE-associated eczema. We recently showed that certain HMOs are associated with protection against cow-milk allergy in infants. Besides genetic differences that are responsible for differences in HMO profiles, HMO abundance changes throughout lactation. However, no other factors have been associated with variation in HMO abundances. This study sought to assess the association of maternal probiotic supplementation with HMO concentrations.

[divider]Feel free to share this Neuroscience News.[/divider]

Join our Newsletter
I agree to have my personal information transferred to AWeber for Neuroscience Newsletter ( more information )
Sign up to receive the latest neuroscience headlines and summaries sent to your email daily from NeuroscienceNews.com
We hate spam and only use your email to contact you about newsletters. We do not sell email addresses. You can cancel your subscription any time.