Human Milk Oligosaccharides and Bacterial Profile Modulate Infant Body Composition during Exclusive Breastfeeding

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Human milk is a complex and variable ecosystem fundamental to the development of newborns. This study aimed to investigate relationships between human milk oligosaccharides (HMO) and human milk bacterial profiles and infant body composition. Human milk samples (n = 60) were collected at two months postpartum. Infant and maternal body composition was measured with bioimpedance spectroscopy. Human milk bacterial profiles were assessed using full-length 16S rRNA gene sequencing and 19 HMOs were quantitated using high-performance liquid chromatography. Relative abundance of human milk bacterial taxa were significantly associated with concentrations of several fucosylated and sialylated HMOs. Individual human milk bacteria and HMO intakes and concentrations were also significantly associated with infant anthropometry, fat-free mass, and adiposity. Furthermore, when data were stratified based on maternal secretor status, some of these relationships differed significantly among infants born to secretor vs non-secretor mothers. In conclusion, in this pilot study the human milk bacterial profile and HMO intakes and concentrations were significantly associated with infant body composition, with associations modified by secretor status. Future research designed to increase the understanding of the mechanisms by which HMO and human milk bacteria modulate infant body composition should include intakes in addition to concentrations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2865
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2022


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