subject: oligosaccharides

A Human Milk Oligosaccharide Protects Against Intestinal Infection and Inflammation

A Human Milk Oligosaccharide Protects Against Intestinal Infection and Inflammation

Sugars found in human milk, called human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs), have various protective effects against intestinal infections. A new study finds that the HMO 2'-fucosyllactose (2'-FL) protects against infection and inflammation caused by the pathogen Campylobacter jejuni. Read More...

Highlights from the 13th Annual IMGC Symposium

Highlights from the 13th Annual IMGC Symposium

The International Milk Genomics Consortium (IMGC) held its 13th annual conference this past September 27–29, 2016, at the University of California, Davis. With a focus this year on moving “From Milk to Microbes,” the conference included 31 talks, 21 posters, a group dinner at Mulvaney’s B&L in Sacramento, and plenty of networking. Here are some of the top highlights from this year’s IMGC Symposium: Read More...

Producing Human Milk Sugars for Use in Formula

Producing Human Milk Sugars for Use in Formula

It’s well known that human milk is good for you (1-5). Sugars, called oligosaccharides, form the third largest component of human milk and have been associated with many beneficial effects. These human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) have been shown to influence the composition of the gut microbiome, modulate the immune system, and help protect against pathogens (6-11, 22) Given the various benefits of HMOs, there has been a lot of interest in figuring out how to introduce HMOs into formula. However, more than 200 human milk oligosaccharides have been discovered so far, and their variety and complexity makes them challenging to synthesize (21-23). Read More...

Milk Sugars May Help Pre-term Babies Fight Fungal Infection

Milk Sugars May Help Pre-term Babies Fight Fungal Infection

The human body is a host for billions of microbes, including the very common fungus, Candida albicans. Harmless most of the time, these yeast cells may suddenly transform into many cells, chained together as long and branching filaments that invade body tissues. This has been reported in many vulnerable individuals, including pre-term babies. A recent study by Gonia et al. found that, in the laboratory, human milk oligosaccharides protect cells, similar to intestinal cells from pre-term babies, against infection with Candida albicans. Read More...

Human Milk Sugars Can Protect Against Food Allergies in Mice

Human Milk Sugars Can Protect Against Food Allergies in Mice

Food allergies affect a substantial proportion of the population, and there are few treatments available. A new study finds that two sugars present in human milk can help protect against food allergies and reduce the severity of food allergy symptoms in mice. If the results can be replicated in humans, these milk sugars could potentially lead to new anti-allergy therapies. Read More...

Mother’s DNA Alters Baby’s Gut Microbes

Mother's DNA Alters Baby's Gut Microbes

A mother’s genes determine a lot of things about her newborn, and it turns out that their effects extend even to the bacteria that colonize the baby’s gut. The establishment of a baby’s gut microbial community is an important event in a newborn’s life. A new study, conducted by microbial ecologist Zachary Lewis, finds that the gut microbiome of breastfed infants is influenced by the types of sugars present in breast milk [1, 2]. Specifically, a particular gene in mothers that modifies sugars in breast milk influences infants’ gut microbiome. Read More...

A Time Before Nipples

A Time Before Nipples

What was milk like long ago in evolutionary history? In the absence of a time machine, the next best way to answer this question is to take what is known about the diversity of living mammals and work backwards using deductive logic, just like Sherlock Holmes. Recently, progress in this area has received a major boost from two papers about the different sugars found in monotreme milk—monotremes being the wackiest and most ancestral-like of the mammal groups, with membership so exclusive it is limited to only two kinds, the platypus and the echidna. Read More...

Milk Sugars Enter Circulation

Milk Sugars Enter Circulation

For years, researchers have wondered out loud about the possible roles of a group of sugars found in breast milk in the development of the brain and the immune system. Relatively high levels of these sugars in mothers’ milk have been linked to less frequent upper respiratory infections in infants.The evidence for systemic effects of these sugars may seem impressive, but it is undermined by a missing link. Strengthening the immune response in the lungs, and indeed, improving memory in the brain, requires first traveling from the gut into the blood. However, whenever researchers have tried to detect these sugars in breast-fed infants’ blood, they have failed. Read More...

Hidden Farmyard Sugars

Hidden Farmyard Sugars

In recent years, lactation science has paid great attention to the 200-odd medium-sized sugar molecules found in human breast milk. This is because these oligosaccharides, the sugars in the milk, (as the sugars are formally termed) have important roles in promoting infant health. These roles hinge on their structure, but until now, it was always understood that the oligosaccharides of domestic animals were rather dull by comparison to those found in human breast milk. However, a recent survey of the milk of cows, sheep, pigs, horses, goats, and dromedary camels has uncovered hitherto unknown diversity. Read More...

Great Expectations for Milk Metabolomics

Great Expectations for Milk Metabolomics

A quick Internet search with the words "genomics" retrieves about 14 million hits, whereas the same search with the word "metabolomics" retrieves a mere 1.1 million hits. This alone is a fair indication that within the "omics" family there are different generations, and metabolomics is one of its youngest members. Read More...