Sialylated milk oligosaccharides alter neurotransmitters and brain metabolites in piglets: an In vivo magnetic resonance spectroscopic (MRS) study

Hong Xin Wang, Yue Chen, Ziaul Haque, Michael de Veer, Gary Egan, Bing Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Background: Human milk contains high concentrations and diversity of sialylated oligosaccharides that have multifunctional health benefits, however, their potential role in optimizing neurodevelopment remains unknown. Objective: To investigate the effect of sialylated milk oligosaccharides (SMOS) intervention on neurotransmitters and brain metabolites in piglets. Methods: 3-day-old piglets were randomly allocated to one of three groups and fed either standard sow milk replacer (SMR) alone (n = 15), SMR supplemented with sialyllactose 9.5 g/kg (SL, n = 16) or a combination of SL and 6′-sialyllactosamine 9.5 g/kg (SL/SLN, n = 15) for 35 days. Brain spectra were acquired using a 3T Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopic (MRS) system. Results: SMOS fed piglets were observed to have significantly increased the absolute levels of myo-inositol (mIns) and glutamate + glutamine (Glx), in particular, the SL/SLN group. Similar findings were found in the relative amount of these metabolites calculated as ratios to creatine (Cr), choline (Cho) and N-acetylaspartate (NAA) respectively (P <.05). In addition, there were significant positive correlations of brain NAA, total NAA (TNAA), mIns, total Cho (TCho), total Cr (TCr), scyllo-Inositol (SI) and glutathione (Glth) with total white matter volume; Glu and SI with whole brain volume; and SI with whole brain weight respectively (P <.01). SLN and 3′SL intake were closely correlated with the levels of brain Glu, mlns and Glx in the treatment groups only (P <.01–.05). Conclusions: We provide in vivo evidences that milk SMOS can alter many important brain metabolites and neurotransmitters required for optimizing neurodevelopment in piglets, an animal model of human infants.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalNutritional Neuroscience
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2019


  • 3′ and 6′-sialyllactose
  • 6′-sialyllactosamine
  • brain metabolites
  • MRS
  • neurodevelopment
  • piglet
  • sialylated milk oligosaccharides

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