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Functions of the milk fat globule membrane in human milk
September 15, 2020 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Presented by Prof Magnus Domellöf, MD, PhD on Tues, Sept 15, 2020.
Breastfeeding is associated with many health benefits in the infant, including improved cognitive development and a reduced risk of infections. Human milk is a complex emulsion of fat globules surrounded by a triple phospholipid membrane, with membrane-bound complex lipids and proteins. Components of this highly complex membrane, the ”milk fat globule membrane” (MFGM) include choline, sphingomyelin, gangliosides, cholesterol, sialic acid, inositol and cerebrosides, which are all involved in brain development. Further, the MFGM contains mucins, butyrophilin, lactadherin, CD14, TLR1, TLR3 and xanthine oxidase, which are all important for immune function. Studies in animals support these associations and recent trials in infants suggest that MFGM may indeed improve neurodevelopment and reduce the risk of infections also in humans. These studies need to be reproduced and further studies are needed to establish the exact mechanisms behind these effects, as well as possible clinical applications.