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Human Milk Oligosaccharides and the preterm infant: Clinical relevance

Professor Jean-Michel Hascoët


Gut microbiota plays an important role in the health of infants. Breastfed term infants have a gut microbiota that is dominated by bifidobacteria, whereas formula-fed infants have a more heterogeneous composition. This prevalence of bifidobacteria has been associated with reduced infection rates and less allergy manifestation as compared with formula-fed infants. In premature infants, gut microbiota shows different patterns related with NICU practices and maturity. It is associated with the level of HMOs in breastmilk. Specific HMOs milk content may be associated with decreased NEC and LOS. HMO supplementation might reduce dysbiosis leading to more mature microbiota and better clinical outcome.