Nutrition Publication

Human Milk Lessons : Human Milk Oligosaccharides Infl uence Neonatal Mucosal and Systemic Immunity

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Breast milk contains a variety of carbohydrates – human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) – that protect the newborn and stimulate innate and adaptive immune development. Donovan and Comstock review the role HMOs play in neonatal gastrointestinal and systemic immune development and function. Studies have shown that human milk contains a higher concentration, a greater structural diversity, and a higher degree of fucosylation than the milk oligosaccharides in other species, particularly bovine milk.Two HMOs, 2′-fucosyllactose (2′FL) and lacto-Nneotetraose (LNnT), have recently been added to infant formula. The authors point out that this is an initial step to narrow the compositional gap between human milk and infant formula. Adding HMOs to formulas, however, is a big step forward .