Human Milk Oligosaccharides and Early Life Immune Development

Title: Diversity of Human Milk Oligosaccharides and Effects on Early Life Immune Development

Authors: Veronica Ayechu-Muruzabal, Arthur H. van Stigt, Marko Mank, Linette E. M. Willemsen, Bernd Stahl, Johan Garssen, Belinda van't Land
Published: September 10, 2018

Front. Pediatr.

This review describes one of the well-known features of human milk, which is the capacity to protect against neonatal infections. In addition, human milk is known to influence the onset of allergic and metabolic disease manifestations1.

A detailed overview of the importance of diversity in human milk oligosaccharides (HMOS) on early life immune development is provided.

In order to understand the role of early life nutrition and its impact on immune development both in vitro as well as in vivo studies have been described. HMOS seems to be involved in the regulation of mucosal immune and barrier function in multiple ways. Irrespective of the mechanism by which specific HMOS structures can provide protection toward certain pathogens, further investigation into the components of human milk and their roles in providing protection to infants is required. In addition, an extensive description and analysis of single HMOS contributing to the diversity provided during breastfeeding is discussed with specific emphasis on immune development and the susceptibility to neonatal and childhood infections.

In conclusion, components of human milk (including HMOS) play a key role in the development of the neonatal immune system.

Both by preventing pathogen replication, promoting growth of healthy microbial diversity, inducing intestinal mucosa maturation and by modulation of immune cells as well as pathogen recognition receptors.

Ayechu-Muruzabal V, van S, Mank M, et al. Diversity of Human Milk Oligosaccharides and Effects on Early Life Immune Development. Front Pediatr. 2018;6:239.