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Carotenoids are important bioactive substances in breast milk, the profile of which is seldom studied. This study aimed to explore the profile of carotenoids in breast milk and maternal/cord plasma of healthy mother–neonate pairs in Shanghai, China, and their correlation with dietary intake. Maternal blood, umbilical cord blood and breast milk samples from five lactation stages (colostrum, transitional milk and early-, mid- and late-term mature milk) were collected. Carotenoid levels were analysed by HPLC. Carotenoid levels in breast milk changed as lactation progressed (P < 0·001). β-Carotene was the primary carotenoid in colostrum. Lutein accounted for approximately 50 % of total carotenoids in transitional milk, mature milk and cord blood. Positive correlations were observed between five carotenoids in umbilical cord blood and maternal blood (P all < 0·001). β-Carotene levels were also correlated between maternal plasma and three stages of breast milk (r = 0·605, P < 0·001; r = 0·456, P = 0·011, r = 0·446; P = 0·013, respectively). Dietary carotenoid intakes of lactating mothers also differed across lactation stages, although no correlation with breast milk concentrations was found. These findings suggest the importance of exploring the transport mechanism of carotenoids between mothers and infants and help guide the development of formulas for Chinese infants as well as the nutritional diets of lactating mothers.
Carotenoids are increasingly being implicated to have an important role in brain and eye development. This study aimed to quantify the content and profile of carotenoids in human breast milk, maternal plasma and neonatal umbilical cord plasma in Chengdu, an urban area in Southwest China. In this study, fifty-four healthy mothers were enrolled. Maternal blood, umbilical cord blood, colostrum, transitional milk and mature milk were collected. Concentrations of carotenoids (lutein, zeaxanthin, β-cryptoxanthin, β-carotene and lycopene) were analysed by HPLC. We found that carotenoid concentrations decreased from colostrum to mature milk. Hydrocarbon carotenoids with weaker polarity decreased more than the polar carotenoids. Lycopene concentrations dropped by 99 %, β-carotene by 92 %, β-cryptoxanthin by 83 %, lutein by 32 % and zeaxanthin by 22 %. Lycopene and β-carotene accounted for 70 % of the total carotenoids in colostrum, and lutein predominated amongst carotenoids in transitional milk and mature milk (51–55 %). Carotenoid concentrations in maternal plasma were much higher than that in cord plasma. Lutein predominated in cord plasma. The concentrations of all carotenoids in maternal plasma were correlated with those of cord plasma and human milk. These results are consistent with selective transport mechanisms in the mammary gland related to the polarity of carotenoids, and each carotenoid has its own implications, which may have different priorities in the early life development of infants. These findings may help guide dietary recommendations for carotenoid inclusion in infant formulas.
Human milk fat is specially tailored to supply the developing infant with adequate and balanced nutrients. The present study aimed to quantify the composition of fatty acids, tocopherols and carotenoids in human milk, with special emphasis on the lactational changes. Colostrum, transitional and mature milk samples were collected longitudinally from the same forty-two healthy, well-nourished Chinese mothers. Fatty acids were quantified by GC with carotenoids (carotenes and xanthophylls) and tocopherols (α-, γ-tocopherol) determined by HPLC. Total fatty acid (TFA) content increased from 15·09 g/l in colostrum to 32·57 g/l in mature milk with the percentages of DHA and arachidonic acid (ARA) decreased. The ratio of n-6:n-3 PUFA and ARA:DHA remained constant during lactation at about 11:1 and 1·3:1, respectively. Both α-tocopherol and γ-tocopherol decreased over lactation with the ratio of α-:γ-tocopherol declined significantly from 7·21:1 to 4·21:1 (P < 0·001). Carotenoids all dropped from colostrum to mature milk as the less polar carotenes dropped by 88·67 %, while xanthophylls only dropped by 35·92 %. Lutein was predominated in both transitional and mature milk carotenoids (51·64–52·49 %), while colostrum carotenoids were mainly composed of lycopene (32·83 %) and β-carotene (30·78 %). The concentrations of tocopherols and xanthophylls but not carotenes were positively associated with TFA content in milk. These results suggested that colostrum and mature milk contained divergent lipid profiles and selective transfer mechanisms related to polarity might be involved. The present outcomes provide new insights for future breast-feeding studies, which also add in scientific evidences for the design of both initial and follow-on infant formulas.
In order to portray the true extent of judicial independence in China’s judicial practices, this article first clarifies the contested meanings of “judicial independence” within Chinese judicial circles and provides a detailed literature review of the main school of thoughts on the extent of judicial independence in China. In contrast to the existing literature—most of which sees judicial independence in China as stagnant—this thesis suggests employing the strategic interaction approach to study the development of impartial adjudication in China and argues that the extent of adjudicative independence is evolving with the amount of judicial discretion afforded by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to judges.
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