Triacylglycerol markers of mature human milk.Eur J Clin Nutr. 2003 Dec; 57(12):1621-6.EJ
To determine which triacylglycerol (TAG) species in mature human milk are less affected by external factors and may thus be considered as TAG markers, as well as to determine which species are most influenced by these external conditions. Furthermore, we examine the correlation between the TAG markers and their fatty acids (FAs).
SETTING AND SUBJECTS
Six healthy women from Barcelona (Catalonia, Spain).
DESIGN AND INTERVENTIONS
In order to obtain the maximum variability of sampling conditions, 40 mature human milk samples were collected from different mothers, on different days, at different times of the day, and from different breasts during and after both the baby's and mother's meal. TAG and FA profiles were determined and correlated. The TAG composition was determined by high-performance liquid chromatography with an evaporative light-scattering detector, and also with atmospheric pressure chemical ionisation mass spectrometry. FAs compositions were determined by gas chromatography.
The results were analysed using the SPSS statistical package and proved to be more variable than might have been found in a more restrictive sample design. Nevertheless, despite these conditions, some TAG species were found in relatively constant levels in mature human milk, and could thus be considered as markers of the mature milk TAG profile. TAG species that we can classify in this group were: LaMO, CaPO, LaCaO, LaPCa, LaOL, MPLn, LLO, LaOO, MPL, and MOL. The names do not indicate the location of fatty acids in the glycerol molecule. On the other hand, concentrations of other TAG species vary considerably between samples and consequently these may be understood to be especially affected by the external factors. TAGs like PaLS, MPO, PaOO, PPP, MPS, SPP, LOO, PPO, MOS, SSP, POL, and SOS are in this second group. Correlation between the TAG markers and their FAs was examined by Pearson's test and a significant correlation was found for some FAs.
The TAG species present in mature human milk are affected in different ways by external factors such as dietary intake, nutritional status, length of lactation, time of the day, etc. Some TAGs may be considered as markers of mature human milk as they are relatively constant under a wide range of sampling conditions and do not depend on the factors mentioned.
This study was supported by the Fundació Mestres Jané.