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Fatty acid positional distribution (sn-2 fatty acids) and phospholipid composition in Chinese breast milk from colostrum to mature stage

  • Ke Wu (a1), Runying Gao (a1), Fang Tian (a2), Yingyi Mao (a2), Bei Wang (a3), Lili Zhou (a3), Liwei Shen (a3), Yan Guan (a2) and Meiqin Cai (a1)...

Abstract

This study quantified the fatty acid profile with emphasis on the stereo-specifically numbered (sn) 2 positional distribution in TAG and the composition of main phospholipids at different lactation stages. Colostrum milk (n 70), transitional milk (n 96) and mature milk (n 82) were obtained longitudinally from healthy lactating women in Shanghai. During lactation, total fatty acid content increased, with SFA dominating in fatty acid profile. A high ratio of n-6:n-3 PUFA was observed as 11:1 over lactation due to the abundance of linoleic acid in Chinese human milk. As the main SFA, palmitic acid showed absolute sn-2 selectivity, while oleic acid, linoleic acid and α-linolenic acid, the main unsaturated fatty acids, were primarily esterified at the sn-1 and sn-3 positions. Nervonic acid and C22 PUFA including DHA were more enriched in colostrum with an sn-2 positional preference. A total of three dominant phospholipids (phosphatidylethanolamine (PE), phosphatidylcholine (PC) and sphingomyelin (SM)) were analysed in the collected samples, and each showed a decline in amount over lactation. PC was the dominant compound followed by SM and PE. With prolonged breast-feeding time, percentage of PE in total phospholipids remained constant, but PC decreased, and SM increased. Results from this study indicated a lipid profile different from Western reports and may aid the development of future infant formula more suitable for Chinese babies.

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Corresponding author

*Corresponding authors: Y. Guan, email yan.guan@abbott.com; M. Cai, email caimeiqin@sjtu.edu.cn

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Contributed equally to this work.

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References

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