Poster Topical Area: Maternal, Perinatal and Pediatric Nutrition

Location: Hall D

Poster Board Number: 274

P13-016 - Effects of Milk Fat Globule Membrane and its various components on neurologic development using a rat pup supplementation model

Sunday, Jun 10
8:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Objectives:Milk fat globule membrane (MFGM) is a component of breast milk that consists of glycosylated membrane-bound proteins originating from the mammary gland plasma membrane. Additionally, it contains a variety of polar lipids and carbohydrate moieties. A commercially available MFGM fraction added to infant formula has been shown to improve cognitive development in infants at 12 months of age. Considering that MFGM is a complex mixture, our aim is to determine which component(s) may be leading to these cognitive outcomes.


Methods: Using a postnatal growth restriction rodent model, rat pups were supplemented with one of five treatments; 1) MFGM, 2) a phospholipid concentrate (PL), 3) sialic acid (Sia) at 200 mg/kg body weight (BW) Sia100 4) Sia at 2 mg/kg BW and 5) non-fat milk as control. Pups were randomized, cross fostered into litters of 17 pups per dam and supplemented from postnatal day (PD) 2 to PD 21 at which point they were weaned. Behavioral tests were performed beginning on PD49 using T-Maze Spontaneous Alternation and Novel Object Recognition. Tissues were collected, and brain hippocampus was isolated at PD14 and PD21. Expression of 4 genes was measured including Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor (BDNF), Dopamine Receptor 1, (DRD1), Glutamate Receptor (GluR-1) and ST8 alpha-N-acetyl-neuraminide alpha-2,8-sialytransferase 4 (St8Sia4).


Results: Increased expression due to supplementation was most pronounced at the PD14 time-point. At PD14 & PD21, MFGM supplementation increased gene expression of BDNF (PD14 fold change (fc) 2.288, p=0.01, PD21 fc 3.1, p=0.001) and St8Sia4 (PD 14 fold change (fc) 2.75, p=0.0001, PD 21 fc 5.57, p=0.0001). The PL and Sia100 groups also had increased PD14 expression in BDNF, GluR-1, St8Sia4 and Drd1. The MFGM group exhibited higher T Maze scores compared to the Sia group. (p =0.01). The Sia100 group visited the novel object more frequently than the MFGM group in the Novel Object test (p=0.02).


Conclusion: In this trial, MFGM, compared to its individual components, was shown to have the largest impact on neurodevelopment. This suggests a synergistic effect of the complex mixture on infant brain development.




Funding Source: Arla Foods

CoAuthors: Bo Lonnerdal, PhD – University of California Davis

Lauren R. Brink

Graduate Student
University of California Davis
Sacramento, California