Human Milk Oligosaccharides: Factors Affecting their Composition and their Physiological Significance
Human Milk Oligosaccharides (HMOs) are the third most abundant solid component of breastmilk. Approximately 130 HMO structures have been identified, of which about 15 make up more than 80 per cent. HMOs are not generally present in farmed animal milks so it is important that their composition and function are understood to create a substitute to include in infant formula.
Norbert Sprenger gives a detailed explanation of the composition of HMOs in this presentation, including factors which might affect them such as the maternal physiological state (being over/under weight), infant gestational age and maternal glycosyltransferase polymorphisms.
He takes a close look at various recent studies into the role HMOs play in influencing early life microbiota, including anti-inflammatory effects, protection from infections and allergy prevention. He notes that further clinical studies, both observational and interventional, are needed to help our understanding of HMO biology and their significance for infant nutrition.