The association between breastmilk oligosaccharides and faecal microbiota in healthy breastfed infants at two, six, and twelve weeks of age

Borewicz, K., Gu, F., Saccenti, E., Hechler, C., Beijers, R., de Weerth, C., van Leeuwen, S. S., Schols, H. A. & Smidt, H., 6-Mar-2020, In : Scientific Reports. 10, 1, 12 p., 4270.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

  • Klaudyna Borewicz
  • Fangjie Gu
  • Edoardo Saccenti
  • Christine Hechler
  • Roseriet Beijers
  • Carolina de Weerth
  • Sander S. van Leeuwen
  • Henk A. Schols
  • Hauke Smidt

Several factors affect gut microbiota development in early life, among which breastfeeding plays a key role. We followed 24 mother-infant pairs to investigate the associations between concentrations of selected human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) in breastmilk, infant faeces, and the faecal microbiota composition in healthy, breastfed infants at two, six and 12 weeks of age. Lactation duration had a significant effect on breastmilk HMO content, which decreased with time, except for 3-fucosyllactose (3FL) and Lacto-N-fucopentaose III (LNFP III). We confirmed that microbiota composition was strongly influenced by infant age and was associated with mode of delivery and breastmilk LNFP III concentration at two weeks, with infant sex, delivery mode, and concentrations of 3 ' sialyllactose (3 ' SL) in milk at six weeks, and infant sex and Lacto-N-hexaose (LNH) in milk at 12 weeks of age. Correlations between levels of individual breastmilk HMOs and relative abundance of OTUs found in infant faeces, including the most predominant Bifidobacterium OTUs, were weak and varied with age. The faecal concentration of HMOs decreased with age and were strongly and negatively correlated with relative abundance of OTUs within genera Bifidobacterium, Parabacteroides, Escherichia-Shigella, Bacteroides, Actinomyces, Veillonella, Lachnospiraceae Incertae Sedis, and Erysipelotrichaceae Incertae Sedis, indicating the likely importance of these taxa for HMO metabolism in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4270
Number of pages12
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 6-Mar-2020



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