Breast milk sugar promotes colitis in offspring

November 22, 2010

A sugar found in mouse breast milk promotes the generation of colitis in offspring, according to a study published online on November 22 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine .

Sugars in breast milk are essential for the development of the newborn and the growth of beneficial commensal bacteria in the gut. But certain milk sugars in certain contexts could be bad news. A group led by Thierry Hennet at the University of Zurich found that newborn mice fostered by mothers lacking one particular milk sugar—sialyl(alpha2,3)lactose—were less susceptible to inflammation-induced colitis later in life. The resistance to was attributed to differences in the commensal bacteria.

Determining whether this milk sugar has some redeeming qualities—for example in facilitating defense against dangerous intestinal pathogens—will require further studies.

More information: Fuhrer, A., et al. 2010. J. Exp. Med. doi:10.1084/jem.20101098

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Are the chemicals we encounter every day making us sick?

June 23, 2017

When her kids were young, Tracey Woodruff, PhD, MPH, knew more than most people about environmental toxics. After all, she was a senior scientist at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). But even she never dreamed, as ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

LariAnn
not rated yet Nov 22, 2010
Incomplete article title - should be:
"Mouse breast milk sugar promotes colitis in offspring of mice"

Otherwise, it comes off as stating that breast milk is bad for babies.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.