Neonatal Gut Microbiota and Human Milk Glycans Cooperate to Attenuate Infection and Inflammation

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Abstract

Glycans of the intestinal mucosa and oligosaccharides of human milk influence the early colonization of the infant gut and establishment of mucosal homeostasis, and differences in colonization of the gut influence the ontogeny of glycans on the surface of the intestinal mucosa, proinflammatory signaling, homeostasis, and resilience to insult. This interkingdom reciprocal interaction is typical of a mutualistic symbiotic relationship. The period in which the infant gut most needs protection from hypersensitive inflammation overlaps with the recommended period of exclusive nursing; electively substituting artificial formula that lacks human milk protective glycans seems ill advised, especially for premature infants.

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